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How    to    Listen  to   Music.     Illustrated. 

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Music    and    Manners    in    the    Classical 

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The  Pianoforte  and  Its  Music.  Illustrated. 

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Author  of  "Studies  in  tbe  Wagnerian  Drama''  "  Notes  on  the 

Cultivation  of  Choral  Music"  "Tbe  Philharmonic 

Society  of  New  York,"  ttc. 





COPYRIGHT,  1896.  BY 





THE  author  is  beholden  to  the  Messrs.  Harper  & 
Brothers  for  permission  to  use  a  small  portion  of  the 
material  in  Chapter  I.,  the  greater  part  of  Chapter  IV., 
and  the  Plates  which  were  printed  originally  in  one 
of  tneir  publications ;  also  to  the  publishers  of  "  The 
Looker-On  "  for  the  privilege  of  reprinting  a  portion 
of  an  essay  written  for  them  entitled  "  Singers,  Then 
and  Now." 



Purpose  and  scope  of  this  book — Not  written  for  pro- 
fessional musicians,  but  for  untaught  lovers  of  the  art — 
neither  for  careless  seekers  after  diversion  unless  they 
be  willing  to  accept  a  higher  conception  of  what  ' '  enter- 
tainment "  means — The  capacity  properly  to  listen  to  mu- 
sic as  a  touchstone  of  musical  talent — It  is  rarely  found  in 
popular  concert- rooms  —  Travellers  who  do  not  see  and 
listeners  who  do  not  hear — Music  is  of  all  the  arts  that 
which  is  practised  most  and  thought  about  least — Popular 
ignorance  of  the  art  caused  by  the  lack  of  an  object  for 
comparison  —  How  simple  terms  are  confounded  by  lit- 
erary men — Blunders  by  Tennyson,  Lamb,  Coleridge, 
Mrs.  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe,  F.  Hopkinson  Smith,  Bran- 
der  Matthews,  and  others — A  warning  against  pedants  and 
rhapsodists Page  3 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

The  dual  nature  of  music — Sense-perception,  fancy, 
and  imagination — Recognition  of  Design  as  Form  in  its 
primary  stages — The  crude  materials  of  music — The  co- 
ordination of  tones  —  Rudimentary  analysis  of  Form  — 
Comparison,  as  in  other  arts,  not  possible — Recognition 
of  the  fundamental  elements — Melody,  Harmony,  and 
Rhythm — The  value  of  memory — The  need  of  an  inter- 







mediary — Familiar  music  best  liked — Interrelation  of  the 
elements— Repetition  the  fundamental  principle  of  Form 
— Motives,  Phrases,  and  Periods — A  Creole  folk-tune  an- 
alyzed—Repetition at  the  base  of  poetic  forms— Refrain 
and  Parallelism — Key-relationship  as  a  bond  of  union — 
Symphonic  unity  illustrated  in  examples  from  Beethoven 
— The  C  minor  symphony  and  "  Appassionata  "  sonata — 
The  Concerto  in  G  major— The  Seventh  and  Ninth  sym- 
phonies  Page  15 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

How  far  it  is  necessary  for  the  listener  to  go  into  musi- 
cal philosophy — Intelligent  hearing  not  conditioned  upon 
it — Man's  individual  relationship  to  the  art — Musicians 
proceed  on  the  theory  that  feelings  are  the  content  of  mu- 
sic— The  search  for  pictures  and  stories  condemned— How 
composers  hear  and  judge — Definitions  of  the  capacity  of 
music  by  Wagner,  Hauptmann^and  Mendelssohn — An  ut- 
terance by  Herbert  Spencer — Music  as  a  language — Ab- 
solute music  and  Programme  music — The  content  of  all 
true  art  works — Chamber  music — Meaning  and  origin  of 
the  term — Haydn  the  servant  of  a  Prince— The  charac- 
teristics of  Chamber  music — Pure  thought,  lofty  imagina- 
tion, and  deep  learning — Its  chastity — Sympathy  between 
performers  and  listeners  essential  to  its  enjoyment  —  A 
correct  definition  of  Programme  music — Programme  music 
defended — The  value  of  titles  and  superscriptions — Judg- 
ment upon  it  must,  however,  go  to  the  music,  not  the  com- 
mentary— Subjects  that  are  unfit  for  music — Kinds  of  Pro- 
gramme music — Imitative  music — How  the  music  of  birds 
has  been  utilized — The  cuckoo  of  nature  and  Beethoven's 
cuckoo — Cock  and  hen  in  a  seventeenth  century  compo- 
sition— Rameau's  pullet — The  German  quail — Music  that 
is  descriptive  by  suggestion — External  and  internal  attri- 
butes— Fancy  and  Imagination — Harmony  and  the  major 
and  minor  mode — Association  of  ideas — Movement  delin- 


eated — Handel's  frogs — Water  in  the  "Hebrides"  over- 
ture and  "Ocean"  symphony—Height  and  depth  illus- 
trated by  acute  and  grave  tones — Beethoven's  illustration 
of  distance  -His  rule  enforced — Classical  and  Romantic 
music — Genesis  of  the  terms — What  they  mean  in  litera- 
ture—  Archbishop  Trench  on  classical  books — The  au- 
thor's definitions  of  both  terms  in  music — Classicism  as 
the  conservative  principle,  Romanticism  as  the  progres- 
sive, regenerative,  and  creative — A  contest  which  stim- 
ulates life.  .  Page  36 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

Importance  of  the  instrumental  band — Some  things 
that  can  be  learned  by  its  study — The  orchestral  choirs — 
Disposition  of  the  players — Model  bands  compared — De- 
velopment of  instrumental  music — The  extent  of  an  or- 
chestra's register— The  Strings  •  Violin,  Viola,  Violon- 
cello, and  Double-bass — Effects  produced  by  changes  in 
manipulation  —  The  wood-winds:  Flute,  Oboe,  English 
horn,  Bassoon,  Clarinet — The  Brass  •  French  Horn,  Trum- 
pet and  Cornet,  Trombone,  Tuba — The  Drums— The  Con- 
ductor— Rise  of  the  modern  interpreter — The  need  of  him 
—His  methods— Scores  and  Score-reading.  .  Page  71 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

"  Classical  "  and  "  Popular  "  as  generally  conceived— 
Symphony  Orchestras  and  Military  bands — The  higher 
forms  in  music  as  exemplified  at  a  classical  concert- 
Symphonies,  Overtures,  Symphonic  Poems,  Concertos, 
etc. — A  Symphony  not  a  union  of  unrelated  parts— History 
of  the  name — The  Sonata  form  and  cyclical  compositions — 
The  bond  of  union  between  the  divisions  of  a  Symphony- 
Material  and  spiritual  links— The  first  movement  and  the 







CHAP.  sonata  form — "Exposition,  illustration,  and  repetition" 
V  — The  subjects  and  their  treatment — Keys  and  nomen- 
clature of  the  Symphony — The  Adagio  or  second  move- 
ment— The  Scherzo  and  its  relation  to  the  Minuet — The 
Finale  and  the  Rondo  form— The  latter  illustrated  in  out- 
line by  a  poem — Modifications  of  the  symphonic  form  by 
Beethoven,  Schumann,  Berlioz,  Mendelssohn,  Liszt,  Saint- 
Saens  and  Dvorak  —  Augmentation  of  the  forces — Sym- 
phonies with  voices — The  Symphonic  Poem  —  Its  three 
characteristics  —  Concertos  and  Cadenzas  —  M.  Ysaye's 
opinion  of  the  latter — Designations  in  Chamber  music — 
The  Overture  and  its  descendants — Smaller  forms  :  Ser- 
enades, Fantasias,  Rhapsodies,  Variations,  Operatic  Ex- 
cerpts  .  .  .  .  .  Page  122 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

CHAP.  The  Popularity  of  Pianoforte  music  exemplified  in  M 

VI.  Paderewski's  recitals — The  instrument — A  universal  me- 

dium of  music  study — Its  defects  and  merits  contrasted 
— Not  a  perfect  melody  instrument — Value  of  the  percus- 
sive element— Technique  ;  the  false  and  the  true  estimate 
of  its  value — Pianoforte  literature  as  illustrated  in  recitals 
—•Its  division,  for  the  purposes  of  this  study,  into  four 
periods  :  Classic,  Classic-romantic,  Romantic,  and  Bravura 
—Precursors  of  the  Pianoforte—The  Clavichord  and  Harp- 
sichord, and  the  music  composed  for  them—Peculiarities 
of  Bach's  style— His  Romanticism— Scarlatti's  Sonatas— 
The  Suite  and  its  constituents  —  Allenoande,  Courante, 
Sarabande,  Gigue,  Minuet,  and  Gavotts— The  technique 
of  the  period— How  Bach  and  Handel  played—Beethoven 
and  the  Sonata— Mozart  and  Beethoven  as  pianists— The 
Romantic  composers  —  Schumann  and  Chopin  and  tke 
forms  used  by  them— Schumann  and  Jean  Paul— Chopin's 
Preludes,  Etudes,  Nocturnes,  Ballades,  Polonaises,  Ma- 
zurkas, Krakowiak— The  technique  of  the  Romantic  pe- 


riod — ''Idiomatic"  pianoforte  music — Development  of 
the  instrument  —  The  Pedal  and  its  use  —  Liszt  and  his 
Hungarian  Rhapsodies. Page  154 

At  the  Opera 

Instability  of  popular  taste  in  respect  of  operas— Our 
lists  seldom  extend  back  of  the  present  century — The  peo- 
ple of  to-day  as  indifferent  as  those  of  two  centuries  ago 
to  the  language  used  —  Use  and  abuse  of  foreign  lan- 
guages— The  Opera  defended  as  an  art-form — Its  origin  in 
the  Greek  tragedies — Why  music  is  the  language  of  emo- 
tion— A  scientific  explanation — Herbert  Spencer's  laws — 
Efforts  of  Florentine  scholars  to  revive  the  classic  tragedy 
result  in  the  invention  of  the  lyric  drama — The  various 
kinds  of  Opera :  Opera  seria,  Opera  buffa,  Opera  semiseria , 
French  grand  Optra,  and  Optra  comique — Operettas  and 
musical  farces — Romantic  Opera— A  popular  conception 
of  German  opera — A  return  to  the  old  terminology  led  by 
Wagner — The  recitative  •  Its  nature,  aims,  and  capaci- 
ties— The  change  from  speech  to  song— The  arioso  style, 
the  accompanied  recitative  and  the  aria — Music  and  dra- 
matic action — Emancipation  from  set  forms — The  orches- 
tra— The  decay  of  singing — Feats  of  the  masters  of  the 
Roman  school  and  La  Bastardella — Degeneracy  of  the 
Opera  of  their  day — Singers  who  have  been  heard  in  New 
York — Two  generations  of  singers  compared — Grisi,  Jenny 
Lind,  Sontag,  La  Grange,  Piccolomini,  Adelina  Patti, 
Nilsson,  Sembrich,  Lucca,  Gerster,  Lehmann,  Melba, 
Eames,  Calve*,  Mario,  Jean  and  Edouard  de  Reszke— 
Wagner  and  his  works — Operas  and  lyric  dramas — Wag- 
ner's return  to  the  principles  of  the  Florentine  reformers 
— Interdependence  of  elements  in  a  lyric  drama; — Forms 
and  the  endless  melody — The  Typical  Phrases  :  How  they 
should  be  studied. Page  202 








Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

Value  of  chorus  singing  in  musical  culture  —  Schu- 
mann's advice  to  students — Choristers  and  instrumental- 
ists— Amateurs  and  professionals — Oratorio  and  Manner- 
gesang — The  choirs  of  Handel  and  Bach — Glee  Unions, 
Male  Clubs,  and  Women's  Choirs— Boys'  voices  not  adapt- 
ed to  modern  music — Mixed  choirs — American  Origin  of 
amateur  singing  societies — Priority  over  Germany — The 
size  of  choirs — Large  numbers  not  essential — How  choirs 
are  divided — Antiphonal  effects — Excellence  in  choir  sing- 
ing— Precision,  intonation,  expression,  balance  of  tone, 
enunciation,  pronunciation,  declamation — The  cause  of 
monotony  in  Oratorio  performances — A  capella  music — 
Genesis  of  modern  hymnology — Influence  of  Luther  and 
the  Germans — Use  of  popular  melodies  by  composers — 
The  chorale— Preservation  of  the  severe  style  of  writing 
in  choral  music — Palestrina  and  Bach — A  study  of  their 
styles— Latin  and  Teuton— Church  and  individual— Mo- 
tets and  Church  Cantatas — The  Passions — The  Oratorio 
—Sacred  opera  and  Cantata— Epic  and  Drama— Charac- 
teristic and  descriptive  music — The  Mass  :  Its  seculariza- 
tion and  musical  development— The  dramatic  tendency 
illustrated  in  Beethoven  and  Berlioz Page  253 

Musician,  Critic  and  Public 

Criticism  justified  —  Relationship  between  Musician, 
Critic  and  Public— To  end  the  conflict  between  them 
would  result  in  stagnation— How  the  Critic  might  escape 
—The  Musician  prefers  to  appeal  to  the  public  rather  than 
to  the  Critic— Why  this  is  so— Ignorance  as  a  safeguard 
against  and  promoter  of  conservatism  —  Wagner  and 
Haydn— The  Critic  as  the  enemy  of  the  charlatan— Temp- 
tations to  which  he  is  exposed— Value  of  popular  appro- 



bation  —  Schumann's  aphorisms  —  The  Public  neither  bad 
judges  nor  good  critics  —  The  Critic's  duty  is  to  guide  pop- 
ular judgment  —  Fickleness  of  the  people's  opinions  —  Taste  , 
and  judgment  not  a  birthright  —  The  necessity  of  antece- 
dent study  —  The  Critic's  responsibility  —  Not  always  that 
toward  the  Musician  which  the  latter  thinks  —  How  the 
newspaper  can  work  for  good  —  Must  the  Critic  be  a  Musi- 
cian ?  —  Pedants  and  Rhapsodists  —  Demonstrable  facts  in 
criticism  —  The  folly  and  viciousness  of  foolish  rhapsody  — 
The  Rev.  Mr.  Haweis  cited  —  Ernst's  violin  —  Intelligent 
rhapsody  approved  —  Dr.  John  Brown  on  Beethoven  —  The 



(C.  KURTH,  JUN.).—  IV.   OBOE—  (JOSEPH  ELLER).—  V. 
—IX.   FRENCH  HORN  —  (CARL   PIKPER).  —  X.  TROM- 

INDEX.    ...*.    /Vtf»35i 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 



'T'HIS  book  has  a  purpose,  which  is 
1  as  simple  as  it  is  plain  ;  and  an  un- 
pretentious scope.  It  does  not  aim  to 
edify  either  the  musical  professor  or 
the  musical  scholar.  It  comes  into  the 
presence  of  the  musical  student  with  all 
becoming  modesty.  Its  business  is  with 
those  who  love  music  and  present  them- 
selves for  its  gracious  ministrations  in 
Concert-Room  and  Opera  House,  but 
have  not  studied  it  as  professors  and 
scholars  are  supposed  to  study.  It  is 
no*  for  the  careless  unless  they  be  will- 
i'ig  to  inquire  whether  it  might  not  be 
well  to  yield  the  common  conception 
of  entertainment  in  favor  of  the  higher 
enjoyment  which  springs  from  serious 
contemplation  of  beautiful  things ;  but 
if  they  are  willing  so  to  inquire,  they 

The  booKs 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

CHAP.  I. 

Talent  in 

shall  be  accounted  the  class  that  the 
author  is  most  anxious  to  reach.  The 
reasons  which  prompted  its  writing  and 
the  laying  out  of  its  plan  will  presently 
appear.  For  the  frankness  of  his  dis- 
closure the  author  might  be  willing  to 
apologize  were  his  reverence  for  music 
less  and  his  consideration  for  popular 
affectations  more ;  but  because  he  is 
convinced  that  a  love  for  music  carries 
with  it  that  which,  so  it  be  but  awak- 
ened, shall  speedily  grow  into  an  honest 
desire  to  know  more  about  the  beloved 
object,  he  is  willing  to  seem  unamiable 
to  the  amateur  while  arguing  the  need 
of  even  so  mild  a  stimulant  as  his  book, 
and  ingenuous,  mayhap  even  childish, 
to  the  professional  musician  while  try- 
ing to  point  a  way  in  which  better  ap- 
preciation may  be  sought. 

The  capacity  properly  to  listen  to 
music  is  better  proof  of  musical  talent 
in  the  listener  than  skill  to  play  upo>i 
an  instrument  or  ability  to  sing  accept- 
ably when  unaccompanied  by  that  ca- 
pacity. It  makes  more  for  that  gentle- 
ness and  refinement  of  emotion,  thought, 
and  action  which,  in  the  highest  sense 


of  the  term,  it  is  the  province  of  music 
to  promote.  And  it  is  a  much  rarer  ac- 
complishment. I  cannot  conceive  any- 
thing more  pitiful  than  the  spectacle  of 
men  and  women  perched  on  a  fair  ob- 
servation point  exclaiming  rapturously 
at  the  loveliness  of  mead  and  valley, 
their  eyes  melting  involuntarily  in  ten- 
derness at  the  sight  of  moss-carpeted 
slopes  and  rocks  and  peaceful  wood,  or 
dilating  in  reverent  wonder  at  mountain 
magnificence,  and  then  learning  from 
their  exclamations  that,  as  a  matter  of 
fact,  they  are  unable  to  distinguish  be- 
tween rock  and  tree,  field  and  forest, 
earth  and  sky ;  between  the  dark  - 
browns  of  the  storm-scarred  rock,  the 
greens  of  the  foliage,  and  the  blues  of 
the  sky. 

Yet  in  the  realm  of  another  sense, 
in  the  contemplation  of  beauties  more 
ethereal  and  evanescent  than  those  of 
nature,  such  is  the  experience  which 
in  my  capacity  as  a  writer  for  news- 
papers I  have  made  for  many  years.  A 
party  of  people  blind  to  form  and  color 
cannot  be  said  to  be  well  equipped  for 
a  Swiss  journey,  though  loaded  down 

CHAP.  I. 



CHAP.  I. 

of  music. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

with  alpenstocks  and  Baedekers ;  yet 
the  spectacle  of  such  a  party  on  the  top 
of  the  Rigi  is  no  more  pitiful  and  anom- 
alous than  that  presented  by  the  major- 
ity of  the  hearers  in  our  concert-rooms. 
They  are  there  to  adventure  a  journey 
'into  a  realm  whose  beauties  do  not  dis- 
close themselves  to  the  senses  alone,  but 
whose  perception  requires  a  co-opera- 
tion of  all  the  finer  faculties ;  yet  of  this 
they  seem  to  know  nothing,  and  even 
of  that  sense  to  which  the  first  appeal 
is  made  it  may  be  said  with  profound 
truth  that  "  hearing  they  hear  not, 
neither  do  they  understand." 

Of  all  the  arts,  music  is  practised 
most  and  thought  about  least.  Why 
this  should  be  the  case  may  be  ex- 
plained on  several  grounds.  A  sweet 
mystery  enshrouds  the  nature  of  music. 
Its  material  part  is  subtle  and  elusive. 
To  master  it  on  its  technical  side  alone 
costs  a  vast  expenditure  of  time,  pa- 
tience, and  industry.  But  since  it  is,  in 
one  manifestation  or  another,  the  most 
popular  of  the  arts,  and  one  the  enjoy- 
ment of  which  is  conditioned  in  a  pecul- 
iar degree  on  love,  it  remains  passing 


strange  that  the  indifference  touching 
its  nature  and  elements,  and  the  charac- 
ter of  the  phenomena  which  produce  it, 
or  are  produced  by  it,  is  so  general.  I 
do  not  recall  that  anybody  has  ever  tried 
to  ground  this  popular  ignorance  touch- 
ing an  art  of  which,  by  right  of  birth, 
everybody  is  a  critic.  The  unamiable 
nature  of  the  task,  of  which  I  am  keenly 
conscious,  has  probably  been  a  bar  to 
such  an  undertaking.  But  a  frank  diag- 
nosis must  precede  the  discovery  of  a 
cure  for  every  disease,  and  I  have  un- 
dertaken to  point  out  a  way  in  which 
this  grievous  ailment  in  the  social  body 
may  at  least  be  lessened. 

,It  is  not  an  exaggeration  to  say  that 
one  might  listen  for  a  lifetime  to  the  po- 
lite conversation  of  our  drawing-rooms 
(and  I  do  not  mean  by  this  to  refer  to  the 
United  States  alone)  without  hearing  a 
symphony  talked  about  in  terms  indic- 
ative of  more  than  the  most  superficial 
knowledge  of  the  outward  form,  that  is, 
the  dimensions  and  apparatus,  of  such  a 
composition.  No  other  art  provides 
an  exact  analogy  for  this  phenomenon. 
Everybody  can  say  something  contain- 

CHAP.  I. 

Paucity  of 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

CHAP.  i. 

Want  of  a 

terms  con- 

ing  a  degree  of  appositeness  about  a 
poem,  novel,  painting,  statue,  or  build- 
ing. If  he  can  do  no  more  he  can  go 
as  far  as  Landseer's  rural  critic  who 
objected  to  one  of  the  artist's  paintings 
on  the  ground  that  not  one  of  the  three 
pigs  eating  from  a  trough  had  a  foot  in 
it.  It  is  the  absence  of  the  standard  of 
judgment  employed  in  this  criticism 
which  makes  significant  talk  about  mu- 
sic so  difficult.  Nature  failed  to  pro- 
vide a  model  for  this  ethereal  art. 
There  is  nothing  in  the  natural  world 
with  which  the  simple  man  may  com- 
pare it. 

It  is  not  alone  a  knowledge  of  the 
constituent  factors  of  a  symphony,  or 
the  difference  between  a  sonata  and  a 
suite,  a  march  and  a  mazurka,  that  is 
rare.  Unless  you  chance  to  be  listen- 
ing to  the  conversation  of  musicians  (in 
which  term  I  wish  to  include  amateurs 
who  are  what  the  word  amateur  implies, 
and  whose  knowledge  stands  in  some 
respectable  relation  to  their  love),  you 
will  find,  so  frequently  that  I  have  not  the 
heart  to  attempt  an  estimate  of  the  pro- 
portion, that  the  most  common  words 


in  the  terminology  of  the  art  are  mis- 
applied. Such  familiar  things  as  har- 
mony and  melody,  time  and  tune,  are 
continually  confounded.  Let  us  call  a 
distinguished  witness  into  the  box ;  the 
instance  is  not  new,  but  it  will  serve. 
What  does  Tennyson  mean  when  he 
says  : 

"  All  night  have  the  ro&es  heard 

The  flute,  violin,  'bassoon  ; 
All  night  has  the  casement  jessamine  stirr'd 
To  the  dancers  dancing  in  tune  ?  " 

Unless  the  dancers  who  wearied 
Maud  were  provided  with  even  a  more 
extraordinary  instrumental  outfit  than 
the  Old  Lady  of  Banbury  Cross,  how 
could  they  have  danced  "in  tune?" 

Musical  study  of  a  sort  being  almost 
as  general  as  study  of  the  "three  Rs," 
it  must  be  said  that  the  gross  forms  of 
ignorance  are  utterly  inexcusable.  But 
if  this  is  obvious,  it  is  even  more  obvi- 
ous that  there  is  something  radically 
wrong  with  the  prevalent  systems  of 
musical  instruction.  It  is  because  of 
a  plentiful  lack  of  knowledge  that  so 
much  that  is  written  on  music  is  with- 


CHAP.  I. 

Tune  and 


CHAP.  I. 

of  poets  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

out  meaning,  and  that  the  most  foolish 
kind  of  rhapsody,  so  it  show  a  colloca- 
tion of  fine  words,  is  permitted  to  mas- 
querade as  musical  criticism  and  even 
analysis.  People  like  to  read  about 
music,  and  the  books  of  a  certain  Eng- 
lish clergyman  have  had  a  sale  of  stu- 
pendous magnitude  notwithstanding 
they  are  full  of  absurdities.  The  clergy- 
man has  a  multitudinous  companion- 
ship, moreover,  among  novelists,  essay- 
ists, and  poets  whose  safety  lies  in  more 
or  less  fantastic  generalization  when 
they  come  to  talk  about  music.  How 
they  flounder  when  they  come  to  detail ! 
It  was  Charles  Lamb  who  said,  in  his 
"Chapter  on  Ears,"  that  in  voices  he 
could  not  distinguish  a  soprano  from  a 
tenor,  and  could  only  contrive  to  guess 
at  the  thorough-bass  from  its  being  "  su- 
pereminently harsh  and  disagreeable  ;  " 
yet  dear  old  Elia  may  be  forgiven,  since 
his  confounding  the  bass  voice  with  a 
system  of  musical  short-hand  is  so  de- 
lightful a  proof  of  the  ignorance  he  was 

But  what  shall  the   troubled   critics 
say  to  Tennyson's  orchestra  consisting 



of  a  flute,  violin,  and  bassoon  ?  Or  to 
Coleridge's  "  loud  bassoon,"  which  made 
the  wedding-guest  to  beat  his  breast? 
Or  to  Mrs.  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe's 
pianist  who  played  "  with  an  airy  and 
bird  -  like  touch  ? "  Or  to  our  own 
clever  painter-novelist  who,  in  "  Snub- 
bin*  through  Jersey,"  has  Brushes  bring 
out  his  violoncello  and  play  "  the  sym- 
phonies of  Beethoven  "  to  entertain  his 
fellow  canal-boat  passengers  ?  The  ten- 
dency toward  realism,  or  "  veritism,"  as 
it  is  called,  has  brought  out  a  rich  crop 
of  blunders.  It  will  not  do  to  have  a 
character  in  a  story  simply  sing  or  play 
something  ;  we  must  have  the  names  of 
composers  and  compositions.  The  ge- 
nial gentleman  who  enriched  musical  lit- 
erature with  arrangements  of  Beetho- 
ven's symphonies  for  violoncello  without 
accompaniment  has  since  supplemented 
this  feat  by  creating  a  German  fiddler 
who,  when  he  thinks  himself  unnoticed, 
plays  a  sonata  for  violin  and  contralto 
voice ;  Professor  Brander  Matthews 
permits  one  of  his  heroines  to  sing 
Schumann's  "  Warum  ?  "  and  one  of  his 
heroes  plays  "  The  Moonlight  Concer- 

CHAP.  I. 

and  musi- 
cal termi- 


CHAP.  I. 

A  popular 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

to ;  "  one  of  Ouida's  romantic  creatures 
spends  hours  at  an  organ  "  playing  the 
grand  old  masses  of  Mendelssohn ; "  in 
"Moths"  the  tenor  never  wearies  of 
singing  certain  "exquisite  airs  of  Pal- 
estrina,"  which  recalls  the  fact  that  an 
indignant  correspondent  of  a  St.  Lou- 
is newspaper,  protesting  against  the 
Teutonism  and  heaviness  of  an  orches- 
tra conductor's  programmes,  demanded 
some  of  the  "  lighter  "  works  of  "  Ber- 
lioz and  Palestrina." 

Alas !  these  things  and  the  many  oth- 
ers equally  amusing  which  Mr.  G.  Suth- 
erland Edwards  long  ago  catalogued  in 
an  essay  on  "  The  Literary  Maltreatment 
of  Music"  are  but  evidences  that  even 
cultured  folk  have  not  yet  learned  to 
talk  correctly  about  the  art  which  is  prac- 
tised most  widely.  There  is  a  greater 
need  than  pianoforte  teachers  and  sing- 
ing teachers,  and  that  is  a  numerous  com- 
pany of  writers  and  talkers  who  shall 
teach  the  people  how  to  listen  to  music 
so  that  it  shall  not  pass  through  their 
heads  like  a  vast  tonal  phantasmagoria, 
but  provide  the  varied  and  noble  de- 
lights contemplated  by  the  composers. 


Ungracious  as  it  might  appear,  it 
may  yet  not  be  amiss,  therefore,  at  the 
very  outset  of  an  inquiry  into  the  proper 
way  in  which  to  listen  to  music,  to  utter 
a  warning  against  much  that  is  written 
on  the  art.  As  a  rule  it  will  be  found 
that  writers  on  music  are  divided  into 
two  classes,  and  that  neither  of  these 
classes  can  do  much  good.  Too  often 
they  are  either  pedants  or  rhapsodists. 
This  division  is  wholly  natural.  Mu- 
sic has  marfy  sides  and  is  a  science 
as  well  as  ah  art.  Its  scientific  side  is 
that  on  which  the  pedant  generally  ap- 
proaches it.  He  is  concerned  with 
forms  and  rules,  with  externals,  to  the 
forgetting  of  that  which  is  inexpressibly 
nobler  and  higher.  But  the  pedants  are 
not  harmful,  because  they  are  not  inter- 
esting ;  strictly  speaking,  they  do  not 
write  for  the  public  at  all,  but  only 
for  their  professional  colleagues.  The 
harmful  men  are  the  foolish  rhapsodists 
who  take  advantage  of  the  fact  that 
the  language  of  music  is  indeterminate 
and  evanescent  to  talk  about  the  art  in 
such  a  way  as  to  present  themselves  as 
persons  of  exquisite  sensibilities  rather 

CHAP.  i. 

A  warning 



and  rhap- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

CHAP.  I.  than  to  direct  attention  to  the  real  nat- 
ure and  beauty  of  music  itself.  To 
them  I  shall  recur  in  a  later  chapter  de- 
voted to  musical  criticism,  and  haply 
point  out  the  difference  between  good 
and  bad  critics  and  commentators  from 
the  view -point  of  popular  need  and 
popular  opportunity. 


Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

MUSIC  is  dual  in  its  nature;  it  is 
material  as  well  as  spiritual.  Its 
material  side  we  apprehend  through 
{  the  sense  of  hearing,  and  comprehend 
through  the  intellect ;  its  spiritual  side 
reaches  us  through  the  fancy  (or  imagi- 
nation, so  'it  be  music  of  the  highest 
class),  and  the  emotional  part  of  us.  If 
the  scope  and  capacity  of  the  art,  and 
the  evolutionary  processes  which  its 
history  discloses  (a  record  of  which  is 
preserved  in  its  nomenclature),  are  to 
be  understood,  it  is  essential  that  this 
duality  be  kept  in  view.  There  is 
something  so  potent  and  elemental  in 
the  appeal  which  music  makes  that  it 
is  possible  to  derive  pleasure  from 
even  an  unwilling  hearing  or  a  hearing 
unaccompanied  by  effort  at  analysis ; 

The  nature 
of  music. 



of  intelli- 
gent hear- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

but  real  appreciation  of  its  beauty, 
which  means  recognition  of  the  quali- 
ties which  put  it  in  the  realm  of  art,  is 
conditioned  upon  intelligent  hearing. 
The  higher  the  intelligence,  the  keener 
will  be  the  enjoyment,  if  the  former  be 
directed  to  the  spiritual  side  as  well  as 
the  material. 

So  far  as  music  is  merely  agreeably 
co-ordinated  sounds,  it  may  be  reduced 
to  mathematics  and  its  practice  to  handi- 
craft. But  recognition  of  design  is  a 
condition  precedent  to  the  awakening 
of  the  fancy  or  the  imagination,  and  to 
achieve  such  recognition  there  must  be 
intelligent  hearing  in  the  first  instance. 
For  the  purposes  of  this  study,  design 
may  be  held  to  be  Form  in  its  primary 
stages,  the  recognition  of  which  is  pos- 
sible to  every  listener  who  is  fond  of 
music ;  it  is  not  necessary  that  he  be 
learned  in  the  science.  He  need  only 
be  willing  tc  let  an  intellectual  process, 
which  will  bring  its  own  reward,  ac- 
company the  physical  process  of  hear- 

Without  discrimination  it  is  impossi- 
ble to  recognize  even  the  crude  materials 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

of  music,  for  the  first  step  is  already  a 
co-ordination  of  those  materials.  A 
tone  becomes  musical  material  only  by 
association  with  another  tone.  We 
might  hear  it  alone,  study  its  quality, 
and  determine  its  degree  of  acuteness 
or  gravity  (its  pitch,  as  musicians  say), 
but  it  can  never  become  music  so  long 
as  it  remains  isolated.  When  we  recog- 
nize that  it  bears  certain  relationships 
with  other  tones  in  respect  of  time  or 
tune  (to  use  simple  terms),  it  has  be- 
come for  us  musical  material.  We  do 
not  need  to  philosophize  about  the  nat- 
ure of  those  relationships,  but  we  must 
recognize  their  existence. 

Thus  much  we  might  hear  if  we  were 
to  let  music  go  through  our  heads  like 
water  through  a  sieve.  Yet  the  step 
from  that  degree  of  discrimination  to 
a  rudimentary  analysis  of  Form  is  ex- 
ceedingly short,  and  requires  little  more 
than  a  willingness  to  concentrate  the 
attention  and  exercise  the  memory. 
Everyone  is  willing  to  do  that  much 
while  looking  at  a  picture.  Who  would 
look  at  a  painting  and  rest  satisfied  with 
the  impression  made  upon  the  sense  of 


Tones  and 



The  begin- 
nings of 



son with  a 
model  not 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

sight  by  the  colors  merely  ?  No  one, 
surely.  Yet  so  soon  as  we  look,  so  as 
to  discriminate  between  the  outlines,  to 
observe  the  relationship  of  figure  to 
figure,  we  are  indulging  in  intellectual 
exercise.  If  this  be  a  condition  prece- 
dent to  the  enjoyment  of  a  picture  (and 
it  plainly  is),  how  much  more  so  is  it  in 
the  case  of  music,  which  is  intangible 
and  evanescent,  which  cannot  pause  a 
moment  for  our  contemplation  without 
ceasing  to  be  ? 

There  is  another  reason  why  we  must 
exercise  intelligence  in  listening,  to 
which  I  have  already  alluded  in  the  first 
chapter.  Our  appreciation  of  beauty 
in  the  plastic  arts  is  helped  by  the  cir- 
cumstance that  the  critical  activity  is 
largely  a  matter  of  comparison.  Is  the 
picture  or  the  statue  a  good  copy  of  the 
object  sought  to  be  represented  ?  Such 
comparison  fails  us  utterly  in  music, 
which  copies  nothing  that  is  tangibly 
present  in  the  external  world. 

It  is  then  necessary  to  associate  the 
intellect  with  sense  perception  in  listen- 
ing to  music.  How  far  is  it  essential 
that  the  intellectual  process  shall  go? 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

This  book  being  for  the  untrained,  the 
question  might  be  put  thus :  With  how 
little  knowledge  of  the  science  can  an 
intelligent  listener  get  along  ?  We  are 
concerned  only  with  his  enjoyment  of 
music  or,  better,  with  an  effort  to  in- 
crease it  without  asking  him  to  be- 
come a  musician.  If  he  is  fond  of  the 
art  it  is  more  than  likely  that  the  capac- 
ity to  discriminate  sufficiently  to  recog- 
nize the  elements  out  of  which  music 
is  made  has  come  to  him  intuitively. 
Does  he  recognize  that  musical  tones 
are  related  to  each  other  in  respect  of 
time  and  pitch?  Then  it  shall  not  be 
difficult  for  him  to  recognize  the  three 
elements  on  which  music  rests — Melody, 
Harmony,  and  Rhythm.  Can  he  recog- 
nize them  with  sufficient  distinctness  to 
seize  upon  their  manifestations  while 
music  is  sounding?  Then  memory 
shall  come  to  the  aid  of  discrimina- 
tion, and  he  shall  be  able  to  appreciate 
enough  of  design  to  point  the  way  to  a 
true  and  lofty  appreciation  of  the  beau- 
tiful in  music.  The  value  of  memory  is 
for  obvious  reasons  very  great  in  mu- 
sical enjoyment.  The  picture  remains 


What  de- 
gree of 
is  neces- 
sary ? 

The  Ele- 

Value  of 



An  inter- 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 

upon  the  wall,  the  book  upon  the  li- 
brary shelf.  If  we  have  failed  to  grasp 
a  detail  at  the  first  glance  or  reading, 
we  need  but  turn  again  to  the  picture 
or  open  the  book  anew.  We  may  see 
the  picture  in  a  changed  light,  or  read 
the  poem  in  a  different  mood,  but  the 
outlines,  colors,  ideas  are  fixed  for  fre- 
quent and  patient  perusal.  Music  goes 
out  of  existence  with  every  perform- 
ance, and  must  be  recreated  at  every 

Not  only  that,  but  in  the  case  of  all, 
so  far  as  some  forms  are  concerned,  and 
of  all  who  are  not  practitioners  in 
others,  it  is  necessary  that  there  shall 
be  an  intermediary  between  the  com- 
poser and  the  listener.  The  written  or 
printed  notes  are  not  music ;  they  are 
only  signs  which  indicate  to  the  per- 
former what  to  do  to  call  tones  into  ex- 
istence such  as  the  composer  had  com- 
bined into  an  art-work  in  his  mind. 
The  broadly  trained  musician  can  read 
the  symbols ;  they  stir  his  imagination, 
and  he  hears  the  music  in  his  imagi- 
nation as  the  composer  heard  it.  But 
the  untaught  music-lover  alone  can  get 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

nothing  from  the  printed  page ;  he 
must  needs  wait  till  some  one  else  shall 
again  waken  for  him  the 

"  Sound  of  a  voice  that  is  still." 

This  is  one  of  the  drawbacks  which 
are  bound  up  in  the  nature  of  music; 
but  it  has  ample  compensation  in  the 
unusual  pleasure  which  memory  brings. 
In  the  case  of  the  best  music,  familiar- 
ity breeds  ever-growing  admiration. 
New  compositions  are  slowly  received ; 
they  make  their  way  to  popular  appre- 
ciation only  by  repeated  performances  ; 
the  people  like  best  the  songs  as  well  as 
the  symphonies  which  they  know.  The 
quicker,  therefore,  that  we  are  in  rec- 
ognizing the  melodic,  harmonic,  and 
rhythmic  contents  of  a  new  composi- 
tion, and  the  more  apt  our  memory  in 
seizing  upon  them  for  the  operation  of 
the  fancy,  the  greater  shall  be  our  pleas- 

In  simple  phrase  Melody  is  a  well- 
ordered  series  of  tones  heard  succes- 
sively ;  Harmony,  a  well-ordered  series 
heard  simultaneously  ;  Rhythm,  a  sym- 
metrical grouping  of  tonal  time  units 



The  value 
of  memory. 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 

CHAP.  ii. 

of  Melody. 


vitalized  by  accent.  The  life-blood  of 
music  is  Melody,  and  a  complete  con- 
ception of  the  term  embodies  within  it- 
self the  essence  of  both  its  companions. 
A  succession  of  tones  without  harmonic 
regulation  is  not  a  perfect  element  in 
music ;  neither  is  a  succession  of  tones 
which  have  harmonic  regulation  but  are 
void  of  rhythm.  The,  beauty  and  ex- 
pressiveness, especially  the  emotional- 
ity, of  a  musical  composition  depend 
upon  the  harmonies  which  either  ac- 
company the  melody  in  the  form  of 
chords  (a  group  of  melodic  intervals 
sounded  simultaneously),  or  are  latent 
in  the  melody  itself  (harmonic  intervals 
sounded  successively).  Melody  is  Har- 
mony analyzed ;  Harmony  is  Melody 

The  fundamental  principle  of  Form 
is  repetition  of  melodies,  which  are  to 
music  what  ideas  are  to  poetry.  Melo- 
dies themselves  are  made  by  repetition 
of  smaller  fractions  called  motives  (a 
term  borrowed  from  the  fine  arts), 
phrases,  and  periods,  which  derive  their 
individuality  from  their  rhythmical  or 
intervallic  characteristics.  Melodies  are 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

not  all  of  the  simple  kind  which  the 
musically  illiterate,  or  the  musically  ill- 
trained,  recognize  as  "  tunes,"  but  they 
all  have  a  symmetrical  organization. 
The  dissection  of  a  simple  folk-tune 
may  serve  to  make  this  plain  and  also 
indicate  to  the  untrained  how  a  single 
feature  may  be  taken  as  a  mark  of 
identification  and  a  holding-point  for 
the  memory.  Here  is  the  melody  of  a 
Creole  song  called  sometimes  Pov*  piti 
Lolotte,  sometimes  Pov'  piti  Momzelle 
Zizi,  in  the  patois  of  Louisiana  and 
Martinique : 



It  will  be  as  apparent  to  the  eye  of  one 
who  cannot  read  music  as  it  will  to  his 
ear  when  he  hears  this  melody  played, 
that  it  is  built  up  of  two  groups  of  notes 
only.  These  groups  are  marked  off  by 
the  heavy  lines  across  the  staff  called 
bars,  whose  purpose  it  is  to  indicate 



A  melody 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 



rhythmical  subdivisions  in  music.  The 
second,  third,  fifth,  sixth,  and  seventh 
of  these  groups  are  repetitions  merely 
of  the  first  group,  which  is  the  germ  of 
the  melody,  but  on  different  degrees  of 
the  scale ;  the  fourth  and  eighth  groups 
are  identical  and  are  an  appendage 
hitched  to  the  first  group  for  the  pur- 
pose of  bringing  it  to  a  close,  supplying 
a  resting-point  craved  by  man's  innate 
sense  of  symmetry.  Musicians  call  such 
groups  cadences.  A  musical  analyst 
would  call  each  group  a  motive,  and  say 
that  each  successive  two  groups,  begin- 
ning with  the  first,  constitute  a  phrase, 
each  two  phrases  a  period,  and  the  two 
periods  a  melody.  We  have  therefore 
in  this  innocent  Creole  tune  eight  mo- 
tives, four  phrases,  and  two  periods ; 
yet  its  material  is  summed  up  in  two 
groups,  one  of  seven  notes,  one  of  five, 
which  only  need  to  be  identified  and  re- 
membered to  enable  a  listener  to  recog- 
nize something  of  the  design  of  a  com- 
poser if  he  were  to  put  the  melody  to 
the  highest  purposes  that  melody  can 
be  put  in  the  art  of  musical  composi- 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

Repetition  is  the  constructive  princi- 
ple which  was  employed  by  the  folk- 
musician  in  creating  this  melody ;  and 
repetition  is  the  fundamental  principle 
in  all  musical  construction.  It  will  suf- 
fice for  many  merely  to  be  reminded  of 
this  to  appreciate  the  fact  that  while  the 
exercise  of  memory  is  a  most  necessary 
activity  in  listening  to  music,  it  lies  in 
music  to  make  that  exercise  easy. 
There  is  repetition  of  motives,  phrases, 
and  periods  in  melody ;  repetition  of 
melodies  in  parts ;  and  repetition  of 
parts  in  the  wholes  of  the  larger  forms. 

The  beginnings  of  poetic  forms  are 
also  found  in  repetition ;  in  primitive 
poetry  it  is  exemplified  in  the  refrain 
or  burden,  in  the  highly  developed  poe- 
try of  the  Hebrews  in  parallelism.  The 
Psalmist  wrote : 

"  O  Lord,  rebuke  me  not  in  thy  wrath, 
Neither  chasten  me  in  thy  hot  displeasure. " 

Here  is  a  period  of  two  members,  the 
latter  repeating  the  thought  of  the  for- 
mer. A  musical  analyst  might  find  in 
it  an  admirable  analogue  for  the  first 
period  of  a  simple  melody.  He  would 


in  music. 

in  poetry. 



Key  rela- 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

divide  it  into  four  motives :  "  Rebuke 
me  not  |  in  thy  wrath  |  neither  chasten 
me  |  in  thy  hot  displeasure,"  and  point 
out  as  intimate  a  relationship  between 
them  as  exists  in  the  Creole  tune.  The 
bond  of  union  between  the  motives  of 
the  melody  as  well  as  that  in  the  poe- 
try illustrates  a  principle  of  beauty 
which  is  the  most  important  element  in 
musical  design  after  repetition,  which  is 
its  necessary  vehicle.  It  is  because  this 
principle  guides  the  repetition  of  the 
tone-groups  that  together  they  form  a 
melody  that  is  perfect,  satisfying,  and 
reposeful.  It  is  the  principle  of  key- 
relationship,  to  discuss  which  fully 
would  carry  me  farther  into  musical 
science  than  I  am  permitted  to  go.  Let 
this  suffice :  A  harmony  is  latent  in 
each  group,  and  the  sequence  of  groups 
is  such  a  sequence  as  the  experience  of 
ages  has  demonstrated  to  be  most 
agreeable  to  the  ear. 

In  the  case  of  the  Creole  melody  the 
listener  is  helped  to  a  quick  apprecia- 
tion of  its  form  by  the  distinct  physiog- 
nomy which  rhythm  has  stamped  upon 
it ;  and  it  is  by  noting  such  a  character- 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

istic  that  the  memory  can  best  be  aided 
in  its  work  of  identification.  It  is  not 
necessary  for  a  listener  to  follow  all  the 
processes  of  a  composer  in  order  to  en- 
joy his  music,  but  if  he  cultivates  the 
habit  of  following  the  principal  themes 
through  a  work  of  the  higher  class  he 
will  not  only  enjoy  the  pleasures  of 
memory  but  will  frequently  get  a 
glimpse  into  the  composer's  purposes 
which  will  stimulate  his  imagination 
and  mightily  increase  his  enjoyment. 
There  is  nothing  can  guide  him  more 
surely  to  a  recognition  of  the  princi- 
ple of  unity,  which  makes  a  symphony 
to  be  an  organic  whole  instead  of  a 
group  of  pieces  which  are  only  ex- 
ternally related.  The  greatest  exem- 
plar of  this  principle  is  Beethoven  ;  and 
his  music  is  the  best  in  which  to  study 
it  for  the  reason  that  he  so  frequently 
employs  material  signs  for  the  spiritual 
bond.  So  forcibly  has  this  been  im- 
pressed upon  me  at  times  that  I  am 
almost  willing  to  believe  that  a  keen 
analytical  student  of  his  music  might 
arrange  his  greater  works  into  groups 
of  such  as  were  in  process  of  composi- 





A  rhyth- 
mical mo- 
tive pur- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tion  at  the  same  time  without  refer- 
ence to  his  personal  history.  Take  the 
principal  theme  of  the  C  minor  Sym- 
phony for  example  : 

Allegro  con  brio.  ^ 

This  simple,  but  marvellously  preg- 
nant, motive  is  not  only  the  kernel  of 
the  first  movement,  it  is  the  fundamental 
thought  of  the  whole  symphony.  We 
hear  its  persistent  beat  in  the  scherzo 
as  well : 


EJ^T  J    J    J-h-H  J    J    J^ 

and  also  in  the  last  movement : 


More  than   this,  we  find  the  motive 
haunting   the    first  movement    of    the 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

pianoforte  sonata  in  F  minor,  op.  57, 
known  as  the  "  Sonata  Appassionata," 
now  gloomily,  almost  morosely,  procla- 
mative  in  the  bass,  now  interrogative  in 
the  treble : 

poco  rit. 

Schindler  relates  that  when  once  he 
asked  Beethoven  to  tell  him  what  the 
F  minor  and  the  D  minor  (Op.  31,  No.  2) 
sonatas  meant,  he  received  for  an  answer 
only  the  enigmatical  remark :  "  Read 
Shakespeare's  '  Tempest.'  "  Many  a  stu- 
dent and  commentator  has  since  read 
the  "  Tempest  "  in  the  hope  of  finding  a 
clew  to  the  emotional  contents  which 
Beethoven  believed  to  be  in  the  two 
works,  so  singularly  associated,  only  to 
find  himself  baffled.  It  is  a  fancy,  which 
rests  perhaps  too  much  on  outward 
things,  but  still  one  full  of  suggestion, 
that  had  Beethoven  said  :  "  Hear  my  C 
minor  Symphony,"  he  would  have  given 
a  better  starting-point  to  the  imagina- 



skips  in 
Beethoven  t 


The  C  mi- 
nor Sym- 
fkony  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tion  of  those  who  are  seeking  to  know 
what  the  F  minor  sonata  means.  Most 
obviously  it  means  music,  but  it  means 
music  that  is  an  expression  of  one  of 
those  psychological  struggles  which 
Beethoven  felt  called  upon  more  and 
more  to  delineate  as  he  was  more  and 
more  shut  out  from  the  companionship 
of  the  external  world.  Such  struggles 
are  in  the  truest  sense  of  the  word  tem- 
pests. The  motive,  which,  according 
to  the  story,  Beethoven  himself  said  in- 
dicates, in  the  symphony,  the  rappings 
of  Fate  at  the  door  of  human  existence, 
is  common  to  two  works  which  are  also 
related  in  their  spiritual  contents.  Sin- 
gularly enough,  too,  in  both  cases  the 
struggle  which  is  begun  in  the  first 
movement  and  continued  in  the  third, 
is  interrupted  by  a  period  of  calm  reas- 
suring, soul-fortifying  aspiration,  which 
in  the  symphony  as  well  as  in  the  so- 
nata takes  the  form  of  a  theme  with  va- 
riations. Here,  then,  the  recognition  of 
a  simple  rhythmical  figure  has  helped 
us  to  an  appreciation  of  the  spiritual 
unity  of  the  parts  of  a  symphony,  and 
provided  a  commentary  on  the  poetical 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

contents  of  a  sonata.  But  the  lesson  is 
not  yet  exhausted.  Again  do  we  find 
the  rhythm  coloring  the  first  movement 
of  the  pianoforte  concerto  in  G  major : 


Symphony,  concerto,  and  sonata,  as 
the  sketch-books  of  the  master  show, 
were  in  process  of  creation  at  the  same 

Thus  far  we  have  been  helped  in 
identifying  a  melody  and  studying  re- 
lationships by  the  rhythmical  structure 
of  a  single  motive.  The  demonstration 
might  be  extended  on  the  same  line 
into  Beethoven's  symphony  in  A  major, 
in  which  the  external  sign  of  the  poeti- 
cal idea  which  underlies  the  whole 
work  is  also  rhythmic — so  markedly  so 
that  Wagner  characterized  it  most  hap- 
pily and  truthfully  when  he  said  that  it 
was  "the  apotheosis  of  the  dance." 
Here  it  is  the  dactyl,  —  U  U,  which  in 



G  major 

His  Sev- 
enth Sym- 



Use  of  a 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

one  variation,  or  another,  clings  to  us 
almost  as  persistently  as  in  Hood's 
"  Bridge  of  Sighs  :  " 

"  One  more  unfortunate 

Weary  of  breath, 
Rashly  importunate, 
Gone  to  her  death." 

We  hear  it  lightly  tripping  in  the  first 
movement  : 

JT3and  J^JTl 

gentle,  sedate,  tender,  measured,  through 
its  combination  with  a  spondee  in  the 
second  : 

J    J1|J    J; 

cheerily,  merrily,  jocosely  happy  in  the 
Scherzo  : 

0    J    J; 
hymn-like  in  the  Trio  : 

and  wildly  bacchanalian  when  subjected 
to  trochaic  abbreviation  in  the  Finale  : 

Intervallic  characteristics  may  place 
the  badge  of  relationship  upon  melodies 

Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 


as  distinctly  as  rhythmic.     There  is  no 


more  perfect  illustration  of  this  than  that 

afforded    by   Beethoven's   Ninth   Sym- 

phony.    Speaking  of  the  subject  of  its 


finale,  Sir  George  Grove  says  : 


"And  note  —  while  listening  to  the  simple  tune 

itself,  before  the  variations  begin  —  how  very  simple 

it  is;   the  plain  diatonic  scale,  not  a  single  chro- 

matic interval,  and  out  of  fifty-six  notes  only  three 

not  consecutive."  * 

Earlier  in  the  same  work,  while  com- 

bating a  statement  by  Lenz  that  the  re- 

semblance between  the  second  subject 

of  the  first  movement  and  the  choral  mel- 

ody is  a  "  thematic  reference  of  the  most 

striking    importance,    vindicating    the 

unity  of  the  entire  work,  and  placing 

The  melo- 

the whole  in  a  perfectly  new  light,"  Sir 

dies  in 

George  says  : 


"  It  is,  however,  very  remarkable  that  so  many  of 

the  melodies  in  the  Symphony  should  consist  of 

consecutive  notes,  and  that  in  no  less  than  four 

of  them  the  notes  should  run  up  a  portion  of  the 

scale  and  down  again  —  apparently  pointing  to  a 

consistent  condition  of  Beethoven's  mind  through- 

out this  work." 

*  "  Beethoven  and  His  Nine  Symphonies,"  p.  374. 


How  to  Listen  to 




Like     Goethe,    Beethoven    secreted 
many  a  mystery  in  his  masterpiece,  but 
he  did  not  juggle  idly  with  tones,  or 
select  the  themes  of  his  symphonies  at 
hap-hazard;  he  would  be  open  to  the 
charge,   however,  if  the   resemblances 
which  I  have  pointed  out  in  the  Fifth 
and    Seventh    Symphonies,   and    those 
disclosed    by    the    following    melodies 
from  his  Ninth,  should  turn  out  through 
some  incomprehensible  revelation  to  be 
mere  coincidences  : 
From  the  first  movement: 

cT    dolce.   p 

From  the  second  : 

i/ug;r    r  +i;     r     fri  r    r    r  i 

i         »        V 


It         1      J    q 

1    !      '     JU 

1  r  r   'I 

laJ     d    n*  -1 

t           1           t 




Recognition  of  Musical  Elements 

The  choral  melody 


From  a  recognition  of  the  beginnings 
of  design,  to  which  identification  of  the 
composer's  thematic  material  and  its 
simpler  relationships  will  lead,  to  so 
much  knowledge  of  Form  as  will  enable 
the  reader  to  understand  the  later  chap- 
ters  in  this  book,  is  but  a  step. 


and  Form, 

ics to  be 


The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

BEARING  in  mind  the  purpose  of 
this  book,  I  shall  not  ask  the 
reader  to  accompany  me  far  afield  in 
the  region  of  aesthetic  philosophy  or 
musical  metaphysics.  A  short  excur- 
sion is  all  that  is  necessary  to  make 
plain  what  is  meant  by  such  terms  as 
Absolute  music,  Programme  music, 
Classical,  Romantic,  and  Chamber  music 
and  the  like,  which  not  only  confront  us 
continually  in  discussion,  but  stand  for 
things  which  we  must  know  if  we  would 
read  programmes  understandingly  and 
appreciate  the  various  phases  in  which 
music  presents  itself  to  us.  It  is  inter- 
esting and  valuable  to  know  why  an  art- 
work stirs  up  pleasurable  feelings  within 
us,  and  to  speculate  upon  its  relations  to 
the  intellect  and  the  emotions ;  but  the 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

circumstance  that  philosophers  have 
never  agreed,  and  probably  never  will 
agree,  on  these  points,  so  far  as  the  art 
of  music  is  concerned,  alone  suffices  to 
remove  them  from  the  field  of  this  dis- 

Intelligent  listening  is  not  conditioned 
upon  such  knowledge.  Even  when  the 
study  is  begun,  the  questions  whether 
or  not  music  has  a  content  beyond  itself, 
where  that  content  is  to  be  sought,  and 
how  defined,  will  be  decided  in  each  case 
by  the  student  for  himself,  on  grounds 
which  may  be  said  to  be  as  much  in  his 
nature  as  they  are  in  the  argument. 
The  attitude  of  man  toward  the  art  is 
an  individual  one,  and  in  some  of  its 
aspects  defies  explanation. 

The  amount  and  kind  of  pleasure 
which  music  gives  him  are  frequently 
as  much  beyond  his  understanding  and 
control  as  they  are  beyond  the  under- 
standing and  control  of  the  man  who  sits 
beside  him.  They  are  consequences 
of  just  that  particular  combination  of 
material  and  spiritual  elements,  just 
that  blending  of  muscular,  nervous,  and 
cerebral  tissues,  which  make  him  what 



equation  in 


A  musical 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

he  is,  which  segregate  him  as  an  individ- 
ual from  the  mass  of  humanity.  We 
speak  of  persons  as  susceptible  or  insus- 
ceptible to  music  as  we  speak  of  good 
and  poor  conductors  of  electricity ;  and 
the  analogy  implied  here  is  particularly 
apt  and  striking.  If  we  were  still  using 
the  scientific  terms  of  a  few  decades  ago 
I  should  say  that  a  musical  fluid  might 
yet  be  discovered  and  its  laws  correlated 
with  those  of  heat,  light,  and  electricity. 
Like  them,  when  reduced  to  its  lowest 
terms,  music  is  a  form  of  motion,  and  it 
should  not  be  difficult  on  this  analogy 
to  construct  a  theory  which  would  ac- 
count for  the  physical  phenomena  which 
accompany  the  hearing  of  music  in  some 
persons,  such  as  the  recession  of  blood 
from  the  face,  or  an  equally  sudden  suf- 
fusion of  the  same  veins,  a  contraction 
of  the  scalp  accompanied  by  chilliness 
or  a  prickling  sensation,  or  that  rough- 
ness of  the  skin  called  goose-flesh,  "  flesh 
moved  by  an  idea,  flesh  horripilated  by 
a  thought." 

It  has  been  denied  that  feelings  are  the 
content  of  music,  or  that  it  is  the  mis- 
sion of  music  to  give  expression  to  feel- 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

ings;  but  the  scientific  fact  remains 
that  the  fundamental  elements  of  vocal 
music — pitch,  quality,  and  dynamic  in- 
tensity— are  the  results  of  feelings  work- 
ing upon  the  vocal  organs ;  and  even  if 
Mr.  Herbert  Spencer's  theory  be  re- 
jected, it  is  too  late  now  to  deny  that 
music  is  conceived  by  its  creators  as  a 
language  of  the  emotions  and  so  applied 
by  them.  The  German  philosopher 
Herbarth  sought  to  reduce  the  ques- 
tion to  an  absurdity  by  expressing  sur- 
prise that  musicians  should  still  believe 
that  feelings  could  be  "  the  proximate 
cause  of  the  rules  of  simple  and  double 
counterpoint ; "  but  Dr.  Stainer  found 
a  sufficient  answer  by  accepting  the 
proposition  as  put,  and  directing  at- 
tention to  the  fact  that  the  feelings  of 
men  having  first  decided  what  was 
pleasurable  in  polyphony,  and  the  rules 
of  counterpoint  having  afterward  been 
drawn  from  specimens  of  pleasurable 
polyphony,  it  was  entirely  correct  to 
say  that  feelings  are  the  proximate  cause 
of  the  laws  of  counterpoint. 

It  is  because  so  many  of  us  have  been 
taught  by  poets  and  romancers  to  think 



Origin  of 



and  coun- 


How  com- 
posers hear 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

that  there  is  a  picture  of  some  kind,  or 
a  story  in  every  piece  of  music,  and 
find  ourselves  unable  to  agree  upon 
the  picture  or  the  story  in  any  given 
case,  that  confusion  is  so  prevalent 
among  the  musical  laity.  Composers 
seldom  find  difficulty  in  understanding 
each  other.  They  listen  for  beauty,  and 
if  they  find  it  they  look  for  the  causes 
which  have  produced  it,  and  in  appre- 
hending beauty  and  recognizing  means 
and  cause  they  unvolitionally  rise  to 
the  plane  whence  a  view  of  the  com- 
poser's purposes  is  clear.  Having 
grasped  the  mood  of  a  composition  and 
found  that  it  is  being  sustained  or  va- 
ried in  a  manner  accordant  with  their 
conceptions  of  beauty,  they  occupy 
themselves  with  another  kind  of  dif- 
ferentiation altogether  than  the  misled 
disciples  of  the  musical  rhapsodists 
who  overlook  the  general  design  and 
miss  the  grand  proclamation  in  their 
search  for  petty  suggestions  for  pict- 
ures and  stories  among  the  details  of 
the  composition.  Let  musicians  testify 
for  us.  In  his  romance,  "  Ein  Gluck- 
licher  Abend,"  Wagner  says : 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

41  That  which  music  expresses  is  eternal  and 
ideal.  It  does  not  give  voice  to  the  passion,  the 
love,  the  longing  of  this  or  the  other  individual, 
under  these  or  the  other  circumstances,  but  to 
passion,  love,  longing  itself." 

Moritz  Hauptmann  says : 

"  The  same  music  will  admit  of  the  most  varied 
verbal  expositions,  and  of  not  one  of  them  can  it  be 
correctly  said  that  it  is  exhaustive,  the  right  one, 
and  contains  the  whole  significance  of  the  music. 
This  significance  is  contained  most  definitely  in  the 
music  itself.  It  is  not  music  that  is  ambiguous ;  it 
says  the  same  thing  to  everybody ;  it  speaks  to 
mankind  and  gives  voice  only  to  human  feelings. 
Ambiguity  only  then  makes  its  appearance  when 
each  person  attempts  to  formulate  in  his  manner 
the  emotional  impression  which  he  has  received, 
when  he  attempts  to  fix  and  hold  the  ethereal 
essence  of  music,  to  utter  the  unutterable." 

Mendelssohn  inculcated  the  same  les- 
son in  a  letter  which  he  wrote  to  a 
young  poet  who  had  given  titles  to  a 
number  of  the  composer's  "  Songs 
Without  Words,"  and  incorporated 
what  he  conceived  to  be  their  senti- 
ments in  a  set  of  poems.  He  sent  his 
work  to  Mendelssohn  with  the  request 
that  the  composer  inform  the  writer 







"  Songs 

Tkt  tonal 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

whether  or  not  he  had  succeeded  in 
catching  the  meaning  of  the  music. 
He  desired  the  information  because 
"  music's  capacity  for  expression  is  so 
vague  and  indeterminate."  Mendels- 
sohn replied : 

"You  give  the  various  numbers  of  the  book 
such  titles  as  *  I  Think  of  Thee,'  '  Melancholy,' 
'The  Praise  of  God,'  'A  Merry  Hunt.'  I  can 
scarcely  say  whether  I  thought  of  these  or  other 
things  while  composing  the  music.  Another  might 
find  '  I  Think  of  Thee '  where  you  find  '  Melan- 
choly,' and  a  real  huntsman  might  consider  '  A 
Merry  Hunt  '  a  veritable  '  Praise  of  God.'  But 
this  is  not  because,  as  you  think,  music  is  vague. 
On  the  contrary,  I  believe  that  musical  expression 
is  altogether  too  definite,  that  it  reaches  regions  and 
dwells  in  them  whither  words  cannot  follow  it  and 
must  necessarily  go  lame  when  they  make  the 
attempt  as  you  would  have  them  do." 

If  I  were  to  try  to  say  why  musi- 
cians, great  musicians,  speak  thus  of  their 
art,  my  explanation  would  be  that  they 
have  developed,  farther  than  the  rest  of 
mankind  have  been  able  to  develop  it, 
a  language  of  tones,  which,  had  it  been 
so  willed,  might  have  been  developed 
so  as  to  fill  the  place  now  occupied  by 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

articulate  speech.  Herbert  Spencer, 
though  speaking  purely  as  a  scientific 
investigator,  not  at  all  as  an  artist,  de- 
fined music  as  "  a  language  of  feelings 
which  may  ultimately  enable  men 
vividly  and  completely  to  impress 
on  each  other  the  emotions  they  experi- 
ence from  moment  to  moment."  We 
rely  upon  speech  to  do  this  now,  but 
ever  and  anon  when,  in  a  moment  of 
emotional  exaltation,  we  are  deserted 
by  the  articulate  word  we  revert  to  the 
emotional  cry  which  antedates  speech, 
and  find  that  that  cry  is  universally  un- 
derstood because  it  is  universally  felt. 
More  than  speech,  if  its  primitive  ele- 
ment of  emotionality  be  omitted,  more 
than  the  primitive  language  of  gesture, 
music  is  a  natural  mode  of  expression. 
All  three  forms  have  attained  their  pres- 
ent stage  of  development  through  con- 
ventions. Articulate  speech  has  led  in 
the  development;  gesture  once  occupied 
a  high  plane  (in  the  pantomimic  dance  of 
the  ancients)  but  has  now  retrograded ; 
music,  supreme  at  the  outset,  then  neg- 
lected, is  but  now  pushing  forward  into 
the  place  which  its  nature  entitles  it  to 










How  to  Listen  to  Music 

occupy.  When  we  conceive  of  an  art- 
work composed  of  such  elements,  and 
foregoing  the  adventitious  helps  which 
may  accrue  to  it  from  conventional  idi- 
oms based  on  association  of  ideas,  we 
have  before  us  the  concept  of  Absolute 
music,  whose  content,  like  that  of  every 
noble  artistic  composition,  be  it  of  tones 
or  forms  or  colors  or  thoughts  expressed 
in  words,  is  that  high  ideal  of  goodness, 
truthfulness,  and  beauty  for  which  all 
lofty  imaginations  strive.  Such  art- 
works are  the  instrumental  composi- 
tions in  the  classic  forms ;  such,  too, 
may  be  said  to  be  the  high  type  of  ideal- 
ized "  Programme "  music,  which,  like 
the  "  Pastoral "  symphony  of  Beethoven, 
is  designed  to  awaken  emotions  like 
those  awakened  by  the  contemplation 
of  things,  but  does  not  attempt  to  depict 
the  things  themselves.  Having  men- 
tioned Programme  music  I  must,  of 
course,  try  to  tell  what  it  is ;  but  the 
exposition  must  be  preceded  by  an  ex- 
planation of  a  kind  of  music  which,  be- 
cause of  its  chastity,  is  set  down  as  the 
finest  form  of  absolute  music.  This  is 
Chamber  music. 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

In  a  broad  sense,  but  one  not  em- 
ployed in  modern  definition,  Chamber 
music  is  all  music  not  designed  for  per- 
formance in  the  church  or  theatre. 
(Out-of-door  music  cannot  be  consid- 
ered among  these  artistic  forms  of  aris- 
tocratic descent.)  Once,  and  indeed  at 
the  time  of  its  invention,  the  term  meant 
music  designed  especially  for  the  delec- 
tation of  the  most  eminent  patrons  of 
the  art — the  kings  and  nobles  whose 
love  for  it  gave  it  maintenance  and  en- 
couragement. This  is  implied  by  the 
term  itself,  which  has  the  same  etymol- 
ogy wherever  the  form  of  music  is 
cultivated.  In  Italian  it  is  Musica  da 
Camera;  in  French,  Musique  de  Cham- 
bre  ;  in  German,  Kammermusik.  All  the 
terms  have  a  common  root.  The  Greek 
/cajjidpa  signified  an  arch,  a  vaulted  room, 
or  a  covered  wagon.  In  the  time  of  the 
Prankish  kings  the  word  was  applied 
to  the  room  in  the  royal  palace  in  which 
the  monarch's  private  property  was 
kept,  and  in  which  he  looked  after  his 
private  affairs.  When  royalty  took  up 
the  cultivation  of  music  it  was  as  a  pri- 
vate, not  as  a  court,  function,  and  the 




History  of 
the  term. 



a  servant. 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

concerts  given  for  the  entertainment  of 
the  royal  family  took  place  in  the  king's 
chamber,  or  private  room.  The  musi- 
cians were  nothing  more  nor  less  than 
servants  in  the  royal  household.  This 
relationship  endured  into  the  present 
century.  Haydn  was  a  Hausofficier  of 
Prince  Esterhazy.  As  vice-chapelmas- 
ter  he  had  to  appear  every  morning  in 
the  Prince's  ante-room  to  receive  orders 
concerning  the  dinner-music  and  other 
entertainments  of  the  day,  and  in  the 
certificate  of  appointment  his  conduct 
is  regulated  with  a  particularity  which 
we,  who  remember  him  and  reverence 
his  genius  but  have  forgotten  his  mas- 
ter, think  humiliating  in  the  extreme. 

Out  of  this  cultivation  of  music  in  the 
private  chamber  grew  the  characteris- 
tics of  Chamber  music,  which  we  must 
consider  if  we  would  enjoy  it  ourselves 
and  understand  the  great  reverence 
which  the  great  masters  of  music  have 
always  felt  for  it.  Beethoven  was  the 
first  great  democrat  among  musicians. 
He  would  have  none  of  the  shackles 
which  his  predecessors  wore,  and  com- 
pelled aristocracy  of  birth  to  bow  to 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

aristocracy  of  genius.  But  such  was 
his  reverence  for  the  style  of  music 
which  had  grown  up  in  the  chambers 
of  the  great  that  he  devoted  the  last 
three  years  of  his  life  almost  exclusively 
to  its  composition ;  the  peroration  of 
his  proclamation  to  mankind  consists  of 
his  last  quartets — the  holiest  of  holy 
things  to  the  Chamber  musicians  of  to- 

Chamber  music  represents  pure 
thought,  lofty  imagination,  and  deep 
learning.  These  attributes  are  encour- 
aged by  the  idea  of  privacy  which  is 
inseparable  from  the  form.  Composers 
find  it  the  finest  field  for  the  display  of 
their  talents  because  their  own  skill  in 
creating  is  to  be  paired  with  trained 
skill  in  hearing.  Its  representative 
pieces  are  written  for  strings  alone — 
trios,  quartets,  and  quintets.  With  the 
strings  are  sometimes  associated  a 
pianoforte,  or  one  or  more  of  the  solo 
wind  instruments— oboe,  clarinet,  or 
French  horn ;  and  as  a  rule  the  com- 
positions adhere  to  classical  lines  (see 
Chapter  V.).  Of  necessity  the  mod- 
esty of  the  apparatus  compels  it  to  fore- 




istics  of 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

go  nearly  all  the  adventitious  helps 
with  which  other  forms  of  composition 
gain  public  approval.  In  the  delinea- 
tive  arts  Chamber  music  shows  analogy 
with  correct  drawing  and  good  com- 
position, the  absence  of  which  cannot 
be  atoned  for  by  the  most  gorgeous 
coloring.  In  no  other  style  is  sym- 
pathy between  performers  and  listeners 
so  necessary,  and  for  that  reason  Cham- 
ber music  should  always  be  heard  in  a 
small  room  with  performers  and  listen- 
ers joined  in  angelic  wedlock.  Com- 
munities in  which  it  flourishes  under 
such  conditions  are  musical. 

Properly  speaking,  the  term  Pro- 
gramme music  ought  to  be  applied  on- 
ly to  instrumental  compositions  which 
make  a  frank  effort  to  depict  scenes, 
incidents,  or  emotional  processes  to 
which  the  composer  himself  gives  the 
clew  either  by  means  of  a  descriptive 
title  or  a  verbal  motto.  It  is  unfortu- 
nate that  the  term  has  come  to  be  loose- 
ly used.  In  a  high  sense  the  purest 
and  best  music  in  the  world  is  program- 
matic, its  programme  being,  as  I  have 
said,  that  "high  ideal  of  goodness, 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

truthfulness,  and  beauty"  which  is  the 
content  of  all  true  art.  But  the  origin 
of  the  term  was  vulgar,  and  the  most 
contemptible  piece  of  tonal  imitation 
now  claims  kinship  in  the  popular  mind 
with  the  exquisitely  poetical  creations 
of  Schumann  and  the  "  Pastoral  "  sym- 
phony of  Beethoven ;  and  so  it  is  be- 
come necessary  to  defend  it  in  the  case 
of  noble  compositions.  A  programme 
is  not  necessarily,  as  Ambros  asserts,  a 
certificate  of  poverty  and  an  admission 
on  the  part  of  the  composer  that  his  art 
has  got  beyond  its  natural  bounds. 
Whether  it  be  merely  a  suggestive  title, 
as  in  the  case  of  some  of  the  composi- 
tions of  Beethoven,  Schumann,  and  Men- 
delssohn, or  an  extended  commentary, 
as  in  the  symphonic  poems  of  Liszt 
and  the  symphonies  of  Berlioz  and  Raff, 
the  programme  has  a  distinct  value  to 
the  composer  as  well  as  the  hearer.  It 
can  make  the  perceptive  sense  more  im- 
pressible to  the  influence  of  the  music ; 
it  can  quicken  the  fancy,  and  fire  the 
imagination ;  it  can  prevent  a  gross  mis- 
conception of  the  intentions  of  a  com- 
poser and  the  character  of  his  composi- 



The  value 
of  super- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 


The  rule 
of  judg- 

of  Pro- 

tion.  Nevertheless,  in  determining  the 
artistic  value  of  the  work,  the  question 
goes  not  to  the  ingenuity  of  the  pro- 
gramme or  the  clearness  with  which  its 
suggestions  have  been  carried  out,  but 
to  the  beauty  of  the  music  itself  irre- 
spective of  the  verbal  commentary  ac- 
companying it.  This  rule  must  be 
maintained  in  order  to  prevent  a  deg- 
radation of  the  object  of  musical  ex- 
pression. The  vile,  the  ugly,  the  pain- 
ful are  not  fit  subjects  for  music ;  music 
renounces,  contravenes,  negatives  itself 
when  it  attempts  their  delineation. 

A  classification  of  Programme  music 
might  be  made  on  these  lines  : 

I.  Descriptive  pieces  which  rest  on 
imitation     or    suggestion     of     natural 

II.  Pieces  whose  contents  are  purely 
musical,  but  the  mood  of  which  is  sug- 
gested by  a  poetical  title. 

III.  Pieces    in    which    the    influence 
which   determined  their  form  and  de- 
velopment  is  indicated  not  only  by  a 
title  but  also  by  a  motto  which  is  relied 
upon  to  mark  out  a  train  of  thought  for 
the  listener  which'  will  bring  his  fancy 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

into  union  with  that  of  the  composer. 
The  motto  may  be  verbal  or  pictorial. 

IV.  Symphonies  or  other  composite 
works  which  have  a  title  to  indicate 
their  general  character,  supplemented 
by  explanatory  superscriptions  for  each 

The  first  of  these  divisions  rests  upon 
the  employment  of  the  lowest  form  of 
conventional  musical  idiom.  The  ma- 
terial which  the  natural  world  provides 
for  imitation  by  the  musician  is  exceed- 
ingly scant.  Unless  we  descend  to 
mere  noise,  as  in  the  descriptions  of 
storms  and  battles  (the  shrieking  of 
the  wind,  the  crashing  of  thunder,  and 
the  roar  of  artillery — invaluable  aids  to 
the  cheap  descriptive  writer),  we  have 
little  else  than  the  calls  of  a  few  birds. 
Nearly  thirty  years  ago  Wilhelm  Tap- 
pert  wrote  an  essay  which  he  called 
"  Zooplastik  in  Tonen."  He  ransacked 
the  musical  literature  of  centuries,  but 
in  all  his  examples  the  only  animals  the 
voices  of  which  are  unmistakable  are 
four  fowls — the  cuckoo,  quail  (that  is 
the  German  bird,  not  the  American, 
which  has  a  different  call),  the  cock,  and 



of  natural 


The  night- 

The  cat. 

The  cuckoo 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

the  hen.  He  has  many  descriptive 
sounds  which  suggest  other  birds  and 
beasts,  but  only  by  association  of  idea ; 
separated  from  title  or  text  they  sug- 
gest merely  what  they  are  —  musical 
phrases.  A  reiteration  of  the  rhythmi- 
cal figure  called  the  "  Scotch  snap," 
breaking  gradually  into  a  trill,  is  the 
common  symbol  of  the  nightingale's 
song,  but  it  is  not  a  copy  of  that  song ; 
three  or  four  tones  descending  chromat- 
ically are  given  as  the  cat's  mew,  but 
they  are  made  to  be  such  only  by  plac- 
ing the  syllables  Mi-au  (taken  from  the 
vocabulary  of  the  German  cat)  under 
them.  Instances  of  this  kind  might 
be  called  characterization,  or  descrip- 
tion by  suggestion,  and  some  of  the 
best  composers  have  made  use  of  them, 
as  will  appear  in  these  pages  presently. 
The  list  being  so  small,  and  the  lesson 
taught  so  large,  it  may  be  well  to  give  a 
few  striking  instances  of  absolutely  im- 
itative music.  The  first  bird  to  collabo- 
rate with  a  composer  seems  to  have 
been  the  cuckoo,  whose  notes 

Cock  -  oo ! 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

had  sounded  in  many  a  folk-song-  ere 
Beethoven  thought  of  enlisting  the  lit- 
tle solo  performer  in  his  "  Pastoral " 
symphony.  It  is  to  be  borne  in  mind, 
however,  as  a  fact  having  some  bearing 
on  the  artistic  value  of  Programme 
music,  that  Beethoven's  cuckoo  changes 
his  note  to  please  the  musician,  and,  in- 
stead of  singing  a  minor  third,  he  sings 
a  major  third  thus  : 

Cuck  -  oo ! 

As  long  ago  as  1688  Jacob  Walter 
wrote  a  musical  piece  entitled  "  Gallina 
et  Gallo,"  in  which  the  hen  was  delin- 
eated in  this  theme : 

a.  Oallina.  x—  x~ 

II*   |      y  • 

-&  ug  r 

while  the  cock  had  the  upper  voice  in 
the  following  example,  his  clear  chal- 
lenge sounding  above  the  cackling  of 
his  mate  : 



and  hen. 



The  quail. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 


The  most  effective  use  yet  made  of 
the  song  of  the  hen,  however,  is  in  "  La 
Poule,"  one  of  Rameau's  "  Pieces  de 
Clavecin,"  printed  in  1736,  a  delightful 
composition  with  this  subject : 

Co  co  co  co  co    co  codai,  etc. 

The  quail's  song  is  merely  a  mono- 
tonic  rhythmical  figure  to  which  Ger- 
man fancy  has  fitted  words  of  pious  ad- 
monition : 


Furch-te  Gott! 

Lo   -  be    Gott! 

The  paucity  of  examples  in  this  de- 
partment is  a  demonstration  of  the  state- 

The  Content  and  Kinds- of  Music 

ment  made  elsewhere  that  nature  does 
not  provide  music  with  models  for  imi- 
tation as  it  does  painting  and  sculpture. 
The  fact  that,  nevertheless,  we  have 
come  to  recognize  a  large  number  of 
idioms  based  on  association  of  ideas 
stands  the  composer  in  good  stead 
whenever  he  ventures  into  the  domain 
of  delineative  or  descriptive  music,  and 
this  he  can  do  without  becoming  crudely 
imitative.  Repeated  experiences  have 
taught  us  to  recognize  resemblances 
between  sequences  or  combinations  of 
tones  and  things  or  ideas,  and  on  these 
analogies,  even  though  they  be  purely 
conventional  (that  is  agreed  upon,  as 
we  have  agreed  that  a  nod  of  the  head 
shall  convey  assent,  a  shake  of  the  head 
dissent,  and  a  shrug  of  the  shoulders 
doubt  or  indifference),  the  composers 
have  built  up  a  voluminous  vocabulary 
of  idioms  which  need  only  to  be  helped 
out  by  a  suggestion  to  the  mind  to  be 
eloquently  illustrative.  "  Sometimes 
hearing  a  melody  or  harmony  arouses 
an  emotion  like  that  aroused  by  the  con- 
templation of  a  thing.  Minor  harmo- 
nies, slow  movements,  dark  tonal  col- 




tion of 


Fancy  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

orings,  combine  directly  to  put  a  mu- 
sically susceptible  person  in  a  mood  con- 
genial to  thoughts  of  sorrow  and  death  ; 
and,  inversely,  the  experience  of  sor- 
row, or  the  contemplation  of  death,  cre- 
ates affinity  for  minor  harmonies,  slow 
movements,  and  dark  tonal  colorings. 
Or  we  recognize  attributes  in  music 
possessed  also  by  things,  and  we  consort 
the  music  and  the  things,  external  attri- 
butes bringing  descriptive  music  into 
play,  which  excites  the  fancy,  internal 
attributes  calling  for  an  exercise  of  the 
loftier  faculty,  imagination,  to  discern 
their  meaning."  *  The  latter  kind  is 
delineative  music  of  the  higher  order, 
the  kind  that  I  have  called  idealized 
programme  music,  for  it  is  the  imag- 
ination which,  as  Ruskin  has  said,  "  sees 
the  heart  and  inner  nature  and  makes 
them  felt,  but  is  often  obscure,  mysteri- 
ous, and  interrupted  in  its  giving  out  of 
outer  detail,"  which  is  "  a  seer  in  the 
prophetic  sense,  calling  the  things  that 
are  not  as  though  they  were,  and  for- 
ever delighting  to  dwell  on  that  which 

*  "  Studies  in  the  Wagnerian  Drama,"  p.  22. 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

is  not  tangibly  present."  In  this  kind 
of  music,  harmony,  the  real  seat  of  emo- 
tionality in  musi~,  is  an  eloquent  factor, 
and,  indeed,  there  is  no  greater  mystery 
in  the  art,  which  is  full  of  mystery,  than 
the  fact  that  the  lowering  of  the  second 
tone  in  the  chord,  which  is  the  starting- 
point  of  harmony,  should  change  an  ex- 
pression of  satisfaction,  energetic  action, 
or  jubilation  into  an  accent  of  pain  or 
sorrow.  The  major  mode  is  "  to  do," 
the  minor,  "  to  suffer  :  " 

Hur  -rah! 


How  near  a  large  number  of  sugges- 
tions, which  are  based  wholly  upon  ex- 
perience or  association  of  ideas,  lie  to 
the  popular  fancy,  might  be  illustrated 
by  scores  of  examples.  Thoughts  of  re- 
ligious functions  arise  in  us  the  moment 
we  hear  the  trombones  intone  a  solemn 
phrase  in  full  harmony;  an  oboe  melody 
in  sixth-eighth  time  over  a  drone  bass 
brings  up  a  pastoral  picture  of  a  shep- 
herd playing  upon  his  pipe ;  trumpets 
and  drums  suggest  war,  and  so  on.  The 



and  emo-f 

and  minor. 


Music  and 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

delineation  of  movement  is  easier  to  the 
musician  than  it  is  to  the  poet.  Handel, 
who  has  conveyed  the  sensation  of  a 
"  darkness  which  might  be  felt,"  in  a 
chorus  of  his  "  Israel  in  Egypt,"  by 
means  which  appeal  solely  to  the  im- 
agination stirred  by  feelings,  has  in  the 
same  work  pictured  the  plague  of  frogs 
with  a  frank  naiveti  which  almost  up- 
sets our  seriousness  of  demeanor,  by 
suggesting  the  characteristic  movement 
of  the  creatures  in  the  instrumental  ac- 
companiment to  the  arioso,  "  Their  land 
brought  forth  frogs/*  which  begins 

Andante.  JK. 

fi[\v  b  V  =^—  ^  **  —  ———j  a»    * 

i  —  r  *  *  f  - 

r  —  i  —  I 

1   X           * 



We  find  the  gentle  flux  and  reflux  of 
water  as  if  it  were  lapping  a  rocky 
shore  in  the  exquisite  figure  out  of 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 


which    Mendelssohn    constructed     his 
"  Hebrides  "  overture  : 

Alleqro  moderate.                               ^                    ^ 

f^rp-i  C~*  r  r  *"  —-\trr~*  -^R 


The  move- 
ment of 

and  low. 

—  *—  JLj   f  J  —  n  *  i  CL<   |*  J  1 

gpiP-^—  ~      —  —\  *>             —  -^ 

^^^^  _  ^  _  _j 

and  in  fancy  we  ride  on  mighty  surges 
when  we  listen  to  the  principal  subject 
of  Rubinstein's  "  Ocean  "  symphony  : 

flj£4-^    ^.^J.^J 

fei^-J^—  3_      1       ,       |         |_^j^=3=^g            p>     | 
tJ         ""    3^~-           ^mp                  ""•  3      fl 

•In  none  of  these  instances  can  the  com- 
poser be   said   to  be  imitative.     Music 
cannot  copy  water,  but  it  can  do  what 
water  does,  and  so  suggest  water. 
Some  of  the  most  common  devices  of 
composers  are  based  on  conceptions  that 
are  wholly  arbitrary.     A  musical  tone 
cannot  have  position  in  space  such  as  is 
indicated  by  high  or  low,  yet  so  famil- 
iar is  the   association   of  acuteness   of 
pitch  with  height,  and  gravity  of  pitch 
with  depth,  that  composers  continually 



Ascent,  de- 
scent, and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

delineate  high  things  with  acute  tones 
and  low  things  with  grave  tones,  as  wit- 
ness Handel  in  one  of  the  choruses  of 
"  The  Messiah  : " 

Glo-ry  to  God  in  the  highest, 

and  peace  on  earth. 

Similarly,  tdb,  does  Beethoven  de- 
scribe the  ascent  into  heaven  and  the  de- 
scent into  hell  in  the  Credo  of  his  mass 
in  D.  Beethoven's  music,  indeed,  is 
full  of  tone-painting,  and  because  it  ex- 
emplifies a  double  device  I  make  room 
for  one  more  illustration.  It  is  from 
the  cantata  "  Becalmed  at  Sea,  and  a 
Prosperous  Voyage,"  and  in  it  the  com- 
poser pictures  the  immensity  of  the  sea 
by  a  sudden,  extraordinary  spreading 
out  of  his  harmonies,  which  is  musical, 
and  dwelling  a  long  time  on  the  word 
"  distance  "  (Weite),  which  is  rhetorical: 

:.  ^.'~^  ^    Jl 


t  r  r/ 

In  der    un-ge-heu  •  'reu    Wei 



The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

The  extent  to  which  tone-painting 
is  justified  is  a  question  which  might 
profitably  concern  us ;  but  such  a  dis- 
cussion as  it  deserves  would  far  exceed 
the  limits  set  for  this  book,  and  must  be 
foregone.  It  cannot  be  too  forcibly 
urged,  however,  as  an  aid  to  the  listener, 
that  efforts  at  musical  cartooning  have 
never  been  made  by  true  composers,  and 
that  in  the  degree  that  music  attempts 
simply  to  copy  external  things  it  falls 
in  the  scale  of  artistic  truthfulness  and 
value.  Vocal  music  tolerates  more  of 
the  descriptive  element  than  instrumen- 
tal because  it  is  a  mixed  art ;  in  it  the 
purpose  of  music  is  to  illustrate  the 
poetry  and,  by  intensifying  the  appeal 
to  the  fancy,  to  warm  the  emotions. 
Every  piece  of  vocal  music,  moreover, 
carries  its  explanatory  programme  in  its 
words.  Still  more  tolerable  and  even 
righteous  is  it  in  the  opera  where  it  is 
but  one  of  several  factors  which  labor 
together  to  make  up  the  sum  of  dra- 
matic representation.  But  it  must  ever 
remain  valueless  unless  it  be  idealized. 
Mendelssohn,  desiring  to  put  Bully  Bot- 
tom into  the  overture  to  "  A  Midsummer 



Bald  imi- 
tation bad 

Vocal  mu- 
sic and  de- 




The  "  Pas- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

Night's  Dream/'  did  not  hesitate  to  use 
tones  which  suggest  the  bray  of  a  don- 
key, yet  the  effect,  like  Handel's  frogs 
and  flies  in  "  Israel,"  is  one  of  absolute 
musical  value.  The  canon  which  ought 
continually  to  be  before  the  mind  of  the 
listener  is  that  which  Beethoven  laid 
down  with  most  painstaking  care  when 
he  wrote  the  "  Pastoral  "  symphony. 
Desiring  to  inform  the  listeners  what 
were  the  images  which  inspired  the  va- 
rious movements  (in  order,  of  course, 
that  they  might  the  better  enter  into  the 
work  by  recalling  them),  he  gave  each 
part  a  superscription  thus  : 

I.  "  The  agreeable  and  cheerful  sensations  awa- 
kened by  arrival  in  the  country, 

II.  "  Scene  by  the  brook." 

III.  "  A  merrymaking  of  the  country  folk." 

IV.  "Thunder-storm." 

V.  "  Shepherds'  song — feelings  of  charity  com- 
bined with  gratitude  to  the  Deity  after  the  storm." 

In  the  title  itself  he  included  an  ad- 
monitory explanation  which  should  have 
everlasting  validity :  "  Pastoral  Sym- 
phony ;  more  expression  of  feeling  than 
painting."  How  seriously  he  thought 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 


on  the  subject  we  know  from  his  sketch- 


books,  in  which  occur  a  number  of  notes, 


some  of  which  were  evidently  hints  for 

superscriptions,    some    records    of    his 

convictions  on  the  subject  of  descriptive 

music.     The  notes  are  reprinted  in  Not- 

tebohm's  "  Zweite  Beethoveniana,"  but 

I  borrow  Sir  George  Grove's  transla- 


"  The  hearers  should  be  allowed  to  discover  the 


notes  on 



"  Sinfonia  caracteristica,  or  a  recollection  of  coun- 


try  life." 

"All  painting  in  instrumental  music,  if  pushed 

too  far,  is  a  failure." 

"  Sinfonia  pastorella.     Anyone  who  has  an  idea 

of  country  life  can  make  out  for  himself  the  inten- 

tions of  the  author  without  many  titles." 

"  People  will  not  require  titles  to  recognize  the 

general  intention  to  be  more  a  matter  of  feeling 

than  of  painting  in  sounds." 

"  Pastoral  symphony  :  No  picture,  but  something 

in  which  the  emotions  are  expressed  which  are 

aroused  in  men  by  the  pleasure  of  the  country 

(or),  in  which  some  feelings  of  country  life  are  set 


*  "  Beethoven  and  His  Nine  Symphonies,"  by  George 

Grove,  C.B.,  2d  ed.,  p.  191. 



Classic  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

As  to  the  relation  of  programme  to 
music  Schumann  laid  down  an  admi- 
rable maxim  when  he  said  that  while 
good  music  was  not  harmed  by  a  de- 
scriptive title  it  was  a  bad  indication  if 
a  composition  needed  one. 

There  are,  among  all  the  terms  used 
in  music,  no  words  of  vaguer  meaning 
than  Classic  and  Romantic.  The  idea 
which  they  convey  most  widely  in  con- 
junction is  that  of  antithesis.  When  the 
Romantic  School  of  composers  is  dis- 
cussed it  is  almost  universally  presented 
as  something  opposed  in  character  to 
the  Classical  School.  There  is  little 
harm  in  this  if  we  but  bear  in  mind  that 
all  the  terms  which  have  come  into  use 
to  describe  different  phases  of  musical 
development  are  entirely  artificial  and 
arbitrary — that  they  do  not  stand  for 
anything  absolute,  but  only  serve  as 
platforms  of  observation.  If  the  terms 
had  a  fixed  meaning  we  ought  to  be 
able,  since  they  have  established  them- 
selves in  the  language  of  history  and 
criticism,  to  describe  unambiguously 
and  define  clearly  the  boundary  which 
separates  them.  This,  however,  is  im- 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

possible.  Each  generation,  nay,  each 
decade,  fixes  the  meaning  of  the  words 
for  itself  and  decides  what  works  shall 
go  into  each  category.  It  ought  to  be 
possible  to  discover  a  principle,  a  touch- 
stone, which  shall  emancipate  us  from 
the  mischievous  and  misleading  notions 
that  have  so  long  prompted  men  to 
make  the  partitions  between  the  schools 
out  of  dates  and  names. 

The  terms  were  borrowed  from  liter- 
ary criticism  ;  but  even  there,  in  the 
words  of  Archbishop  Trench,  "they 
either  say  nothing  at  all  or  say  some- 
thing erroneous."  Classical  has  more  to 
defend  it  than  Romantic,  because  it  has 
greater  antiquity  and,  in  one  sense,  has 
been  used  with  less  arbitrariness. 

"  The  term,"  says  Trench,  "  is  drawn  from  the 
political  economy  of  Rome.  Such  a  man  was  rated 
as  to  his  income  in  the  third  class,  such  another  in 
the  fourth,  and  so  on,  and  he  who  was  in  the  high- 
est was  emphatically  said  to  be  of  the  class,  classi- 
cus,  a  class  man,  without  adding  the  number  as  in 
that  case  superfluous ;  while  all  others  were  infra 
classem.  Hence  by  an  obvious  analogy  the  best 
authors  were  rated  as  classtcz,  or  men  of  the  high- 
est class ;  just  as  in  English  we  say  4  men  of  rank  ' 


of  ' '  classi- 



in  litera- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

absolutely  for  men  who  are  in  the  highest  ranks  of 
the  State." 

Thus  Trench,  and  his  historical  defi- 
nition, explains  why  in  music  also  there 
is  something  more  than  a  lurking  sug- 
gestion of  excellence  in  the  conception 
of  "  classical ; "  but  that  fact  does  not 
put  away  the  quarrel  which  we  feel 
exists  between  Classic  and  Romantic. 

As  applied  to  literature  Romantic 
was  an  adjective  affected  by  certain 
poets,  first  in  Germany,  then  in  France, 
who  wished  to  introduce  a  style  of 
thought  and  expression  different  from 
that  of  those  who  followed  old  models. 
Intrinsically,  of  course,  the  term  does 
not  imply  any  such  opposition  but  only 
bears  witness  to  the  source  from  which 
the  poets  drew  their  inspiration.  This 
was  the  imaginative  literature  of  the 
Middle  Ages,  the  fantastical  stories  of 
chivalry  and  knighthood  written  in  the 
Romance,  or  Romanic  languages,  such 
as  Italian,  Spanish,  and  Provencal.  The 
principal  elements  of  these  stories  were 
the  marvellous  and  the  supernatural. 
The  composers  whose  names  first  spring 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

into  our  minds  when  we  think  of  the 
Romantic  School  are  men  like  Mendels- 
sohn and  Schumann,  who  drew  much  of 
their  inspiration  from  the  young  writers 
of  their  time  who  were  making  war  on 
stilted  rhetoric  and  conventionalism  of 
phrase.  Schumann  touches  hands  with 
the  Romantic  poets  in  their  strivings  in 
two  directions.  His  artistic  conduct, 
especially  in  his  early  years,  is  inex- 
plicable if  Jean  Paul  be  omitted  from 
the  equation.  His  music  rebels  against 
the  formalism  which  had  held  despotic 
sway  over  the  art,  and  also  seeks  to  dis- 
close the  beauty  which  lies  buried  in  the 
world  of  mystery  in  and  around  us,  and 
give  expression  to  the  multitude  of  emo- 
tions to  which  unyielding  formalism 
had  refused  adequate  utterance.  This, 
I  think,  is  the  chief  element  of  Roman- 
ticism. Another  has  more  of  an  exter- 
nal nature  and  genesis,  and  this  we  find 
in  the  works  of  such  composers  as  Von 
Weber,  who  is  Romantic  chiefly  in  his 
operas,  because  of  the  supernaturalism 
and  chivalry  in  their  stories,  and  Men- 
delssohn, who,  while  distinctly  Roman- 
tic in  many  of  his  strivings,  was  yet  so 



and  Jean 





A  defini- 
tion of 
"  Classi- 
cal" in 

The  crea- 
tive and 
tive prin- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

great  a  master  of  form,  and  so  attached 
to  it,  that  the  Romantic  side  of  him  was 
not  fully  developed. 

If  I  were  to  attempt  a  definition  it 
would  be  this  :  Classical  composers  are 
those  of  the  first  rank  (to  this  extent  we 
yield  to  the  ancient  Roman  conception) 
who  have  developed  music  to  the  high- 
est pitch  of  perfection  on  its  formal  side 
and,  in  obedience  to  generally  accepted 
laws,  preferring  aesthetic  beauty,  pure 
and  simple,  over  emotional  content,  or, 
at  any  rate,  refusing  to  sacrifice  form 
to  characteristic  expression.  Romantic 
composers  are  those  who  have  sought 
their  ideals  in  other  regions  and  striven 
to  give  expression  to  them  irrespective 
of  the  restrictions  and  limitations  of 
form  and  the  conventions  of  law — com- 
posers with  whom,  in  brief,  content  out- 
weighs manner.  This  definition  pre- 
sents Classicism  as  the  regulative  and 
conservative  principle  in  the  history  of 
the  art,  and  Romanticism  as  the  pro- 
gressive, regenerative,  and  creative 
principle.  It  is  easy  to  see  how  the  no- 
tion of  contest  between  them  grew  up, 
and  the  only  harm  which  can  come  from 

The  Content  and  Kinds  of  Music 

such  a  notion  will  ensue  only  if  we  shut 
our  eyes  to  the  fact  that  it  is  a  contest 
between  two  elements  whose  very  op- 
position stimulates  life,  and  whose  union, 
perfect,  peaceful,  mutually  supplement- 
al, is  found  in  every  really  great  art- 
work. No  law  which  fixes,  and  hence 
limits,  form,  can  remain  valid  forever. 
Its  end  is  served  when  it  enforces  it- 
self long  enough  to  keep  lawlessness  in 
check  till  the  test  of  time  has  deter- 
mined what  is  sound,  sweet,  and  whole- 
some in  the  innovations  which  are 
always  crowding  eagerly  into  every 
creative  activity  in  art  and  science.  In 
art  it  is  ever  true,  as  Faust  concludes, 
that  "  In  the  beginning  was  the  deed." 
The  laws  of  composition  are  the  prod- 
ucts of  compositions;  and,  being  such, 
they  cannot  remain  unalterable  so  long 
as  the  impulse  freshly  to  create  remains. 
All  great  men  are  ahead  of  their  time, 
and  in  all  great  music,  no  matter  when 
written,  you  shall  find  instances  of  pro- 
founder  meaning  and  deeper  or  newer 
feeling  than  marked  the  generality  of 
contemporary  compositions.  So  Bach 
frequently  floods  his  formal  utterances 


laws  of  ne- 
cessity pro- 

Bach  and 



and  con- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

with  Romantic  feeling,  and  the  face  of 
Beethoven,  serving  at  the  altar  in  the 
temple  of  Beauty,  is  transfigured  for  us 
by  divine  light.  The  principles  of  crea- 
tion and  conservation  move  onward  to- 
gether, and  what  is  Romantic  to-day  be- 
comes Classic  to-morrow.  Romanticism 
is  fluid  Classicism.  It  is  the  emotional 
stimulus  informing  Romanticism  which 
calls  music  into  life,  but  no  sooner  is  it 
born,  free,  untrammelled,  nature's  child, 
than  the  regulative  principle  places 
shackles  upon  it ;  but  it  is  enslaved  only 
that  it  may  become  and  remain  art. 



The  Modern  Orchestra 

THE  most  eloquent,  potent,  and  capa- 
ble instrument  of  music  in  the 
world  is  the  modern  orchestra.  It  is 
the  instrument  whose  employment  by 
the  classical  composers  and  the  geniuses 
of  the  Romantic  School  in  the  middle 
of  our  century  marks  the  high  tide  of 
the  musical  art.  It  is  an  instrument, 
moreover,  which  is  never  played  upon 
without  giving  a  great  object-lesson  in 
musical  analysis,  without  inviting  the 
eye  to  help  the  ear  to  discern  the  cause 
of  the  sounds  which  ravish  our  senses 
and  stir  up  pleasurable  emotions.  Yet 
the  popular  knowledge  of  its  constituent 
parts,  of  the  individual  value  and  mission 
of  the  factors  which  go  to  make  up  its 
sum,  is  scarcely  greater  than  the  popu- 
lar knowledge  of  the  structure  of  a  sym- 

The  orches- 
tra as  an 


What  may 
be  heard 
from  a 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

phony  or  sonata.  All  this  is  the  more 
deplorable  since  at  least  a  rudimentary 
knowledge  of  these  things  might  easily 
be  gained,  and  in  gaining  it  the  student 
would  find  a  unique  intellectual  enjoy- 
ment, and  have  his  ears  unconscious- 
ly opened  to  a  thousand  beauties  in 
the  music  never  perceived  before.  He 
would  learn,  for  instance,  to  distinguish 
the  characteristic  timbre  of  each  of  the 
instruments  in  the  band  ;  and  after  that 
to  the  delight  found  in  what  may  be 
called  the  primary  colors  he  would  add 
that  which  comes  from  analyzing  the 
vast  number  of  tints  which  are  the  prod- 
ucts of  combination.  Noting  the  ca- 
pacity of  the  various  instruments  and 
the  manner  in  which  they  are  employed, 
he  would  get  glimpses  into  the  mental 
workshop  of  the  composer.  He  would 
discover  that  there  are  conventional 
means  of  expression  in  his  art  analogous 
to  those  in  the  other  arts ;  and  collating 
his  methods  with  the  effects  produced, 
he  would  learn  something  of  the  crea- 
tive artist's  purposes.  He  would  find 
that  while  his  merely  sensuous  enjoy- 
ment would  be  left  unimpaired,  and  the 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

emotional  excitement  which  is  a  legiti- 
mate fruit  of  musical  performance  un- 
checked, these  pleasures  would  have 
others  consorted  with  them.  His  intel- 
lectual faculties  would  be  agreeably 
excited,  and  he  would  enjoy  the  pleas- 
ures of  memory,  which  are  exemplified 
in  music  more  delightfully  and  more 
frequently  than  in  any  other  art,  be- 
cause of  the  rdle  which  repetition  of 
parts  plays  in  musical  composition. 

The  argument  is  as  valid  in  the  study 
of  musical  forms  as  in  the  study  of  the 
orchestra,  but  it  is  the  latter  that  is 
our  particular  business  in  this  chapter. 
Everybody  listening  to  an  orchestral 
concert  recognizes  the  physical  forms 
of  the  violins,  flutes,  cornets,  and  big 
drum  ;  but  even  of  these  familiar  instru- 
ments the  voices  are  not  always  recog- 
nized. As  for  the  rest  of  the  harmoni- 
ous fraternity,  few  give  heed  to  them, 
even  while  enjoying  the  music  which 
they  produce;  yet  with  a  few  words 
of  direction  anybody  can  study  the  in- 
struments  of  the  band  at  an  orchestral 
concert.  Let  him  first  recognize  the 
fact  that  to  the  mind  of  a  composer  an 






The  in- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

orchestra  always  presents  itself  as  a 
combination  of  four  groups  of  instru- 
ments— choirs,  let  us  call  them,  with  un- 
willing apology  to  the  lexicographers. 
These  choirs  are  :  first,  the  viols  of  four 
sorts — violins,  violas,  violoncellos,  and 
double-basses,  spoken  of  collectively  as 
the  "  string  quartet ;  "  second,  the  wind 
instruments  of  wood  (the  "  wood-winds  " 
in  the  musician's  jargon) — flutes,  oboes, 
clarinets,  and  bassoons ;  third,  the  wind 
instruments  of  brass  (the  "  brass")  — 
trumpets,  horns,  trombones,  and  bass 
tuba.  In  all  of  these  subdivisions  there 
are  numerous  variations  which  need  not 
detain  us  now.  A  further  subdivision 
might  be  made  in  each  with  reference 
to  the  harmony  voices  (showing  an  anal- 
ogy with  the  four  voices  of  a  vocal 
choir — soprano,  contralto,  tenor,  and 
bass) ;  but  to  go  into  this  might  make 
the  exposition  confusing.  The  fourth 
"  choir  "  (here  the  apology  to  the  lexi- 
cographers must  be  repeated  with  much 
humility  and  earnestness)  consists  of  the 
instruments  of  percussion — the  kettle- 
drums, big  drum,  cymbals,  triangle,  bell 
chime,  etc.  (sometimes  spoken  of  collec- 


V^X^o/X      «<rf, 

oO\      » 

f ffl^YJ  1 

t~Jfi2i|»°    ^     '-nH  9 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

lively  in  the  United  States  as  "  the  bat- 

The  disposition  of  these  instruments 
in  our  orchestras  is  largely  a  matter  of 
individual  taste  and  judgment  in  the 
conductor,  though  the  general  rule  is 
exemplified  in  the  plan  given  herewith, 
showing  how  Mr.  Anton  Seidl  has  ar- 
ranged the  desks  for  the  concerts  of 
the  Philharmonic  Society  of  New  York. 
Mr.  Theodore  Thomas's  arrangement 
differed  very  little  from  that  of  Mr. 
Seidl,  the  most  noticeable  difference 
being  that  he  placed  the  viola-players 
beside  the  second  violinists,  where  Mr. 
Seidl  has  the  violoncellists.  Mr.  Seidl's 
purpose  in  making  the  change  was  to 
gain  an  increase  in  sonority  for  the  vio- 
la part,  the  position  to  the  right  of  the 
stage  (the  left  of  the  audience)  enabling 
the  viola-players  to  hold  their  instru- 
ments with  the  F-holes  toward  the  lis- 
teners instead  of  away  from  them.  The 
relative  positions  of  the  harmonious  bat- 
talions, as  a  rule,  are  as  shown  in  the 
diagram.  In  the  foreground,  the  vio- 
lins, violas,  and  'cellos ;  in  the  middle 
distance,  the  wood-winds ;  in  the  back- 



are  seated. 

Plan  of  the 
New  York 


Selo  in- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

ground,  tie  brass  and  the  battery  ;  the 
double-basses  flanking  the  whole  body. 
This  distribution  of  forces  is  dictated 
by  considerations  of  sonority,  the  most 
assertive  instruments  —  the  brass  and 
drums — being  placed  farthest  from  the 
hearers,  and  the  instruments  of  the  viol 
tribe,  which  are  the  real  backbone  of 
the  band  and  make  their  effect  by  a 
massing  of  voices  in  each  part,  having 
the  place  of  honor  and  greatest  advan- 
tage. Of  course  it  is  understood  that  I 
am  speaking  of  a  concert  orchestra.  In 
the  case  of  theatrical  or  operatic  bands 
the  arrangement  of  the  forces  is  de- 
pendent largely  upon  the  exigencies  of 

Outside  the  strings  the  instruments 
are  treated  by  composers  as  solo  instru- 
ments, a  single  flute,  oboe,  clarinet,  or 
other  wind  instrument  sometimes  do- 
ing the  same  work  in  the  development 
of  the  composition  as  the  entire  body  of 
first  violins.  As  a  rule,  the  wood-winds 
are  used  in  pairs,  the  purpose  of  this 
being  either  to  fill  the  harmony  when 
what  I  may  call  the  principal  thought 
of  the  composition  is  consigned  to  a 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

particular  choir,  or  to  strengthen  a 
voice  by  permitting  two  instruments 
to  play  in  unison. 

Each  choir,  except  the  percussion  in- 
struments,  is  capable  of  playing  in  full 
harmony ;  and  this  effect  is  frequently 
used  by  composers.  In  "  Lohengrin," 
which  for  that  reason  affords  to  the  am- 
ateur an  admirable  opportunity  for  or- 
chestral study,  Wagner  resorts  to  this 
device  in  some  instances  for  the  sake 
of  dramatic  characterization.  Elsa,  a 
dreamy,  melancholy  maiden,  crushed 
under  the  weight  of  wrongful  accusa- 
tion, and  sustained  only  by  the  vision 
of  a  seraphic  champion  sent  by  Heaven 
to  espouse  her  cause,  is  accompanied  on 
her  entrance  and  sustained  all  through 
her  scene  of  trial  by  the  dulcet  tones  of 
the  wood-winds,  the  oboe  most  often 
carrying  the  melody.  Lohengrin's  su- 
perterrestrial  character  as  a  Knight  of 
the  Holy  Grail  is  prefigured  in  the  har- 
monies which  seem  to  stream  from  the 
violins,  and  in  the  prelude  tell  of  the 
bringing  of  the  sacred  vessel  of  Christ's 
passion  to  Monsalvat ;  but  in  his  chival- 
ric  character  he  is  greeted  by  the  mili- 



for  har- 
mony ef- 

Wagner  s 
tal charac- 



An  instru- 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tant  trumpets  in  a  strain  of  brilliant 
puissance  and  rhythmic  energy.  Com- 
posers have  studied  the  voices  of  the 
instruments  so  long  and  well,  and  have 
noted  the  kind  of  melodies  and  harmo- 
nies in  which  the  voices  are  most  effec- 
tive, that  they  have  formulated  what 
might  almost  be  called  an  instrumental 
language.  Though  the  effective  capac- 
ity of  each  instrument  is  restricted  not 
only  by  its  mechanics,  but  also  by  the 
quality  of  its  tones — a  melody  conceived 
for  one  instrument  sometimes  becoming 
utterly  inexpressive  and  unbeautiful  by 
transferrence  to  another — the  range  of 
effects  is  extended  almost  to  infinity  by 
means  of  combination,  or,  as  a  painter 
might  say,  by  mixing  the  colors.  The 
art  of  writing  effectively  for  instru 
ments  in  combination  is  the  art  of  in- 
strumentation or  orchestration,  in  which 
Berlioz  and  Wagner  were  Past  Grand 

The  number  of  instruments  of  each 
kind  in  an  orchestra  may  also  be  said  to 
depend  measurably  upon  the  music,  or 
the  use  to  which  the  band  is  to  be  put. 
Neither  in  instruments  nor  in  numbers 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

is  there  absolute  identity  between  a 
dramatic  and  a  symphonic  orchestra. 
The  apparatus  of  the  former  is  general- 
ly much  more  varied  and  complex,  be- 
cause of  the  vast  development  of  variety 
in  dramatic  expression  stimulated  by 

The  modern  symphony,  especially 
the  symphonic  poem,  shows  the  influ- 
ence of  this  dramatic  tendency,  but 
not  in  the  same  degree.  A  comparison 
between  model  bands  in  each  depart- 
ment will  disclose  what  is  called  the 
normal  orchestral  organization.  For 
the  comparison  (see  page  82),  I  select 
the  bands  of  the  first  Wagner  Festival 
held  in  Bayreuth  in  1876,  the  Philhar- 
monic Society  of  New  York,  the  Bos- 
ton Symphony  Orchestra,  and  the  Chi- 
cago Symphony  Orchestra. 

Instruments  like  the  corno  di  bas- 
setto,  bass  trumpet,  tenor  tuba,  contra- 
bass tuba,  and  contra-bass  trombone  are 
so  seldom  called  for  in  the  music  played 
by  concert  orchestras  that  they  have  no 
place  in  their  regular  lists.  They  are 
employed  when  needed,  however,  and 
the  horns  and  other  instruments  are 



and  dra- 
matic or- 





Tht  string 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

multiplied  when  desirable  effects  are  to 
be  obtained  by  such  means. 



New  York 



First  violins  





Second  violins  






























English  horn  















Bassoons  ....         





Trumpets  or  cornets.  .  . 










Bass  trumpet  





Tenor  tubas  





Bass  tubas  





Contra-bass  tuba  .... 





Contra-bass  trombone  .  . 
Tympani  (pairs)  







Bass  drum 





Cymbals  (pairs)  ....... 










The  string  quartet,  it  will  be  seen, 
makes  up  nearly  three-fourths  of  a  well- 
balanced  orchestra.  It  is  the  only  choir 
which  has  numerous  representation  of 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

its  constituent  units.  This  was  not  al- 
ways so,  but  is  the  fruit  of  development 
in  the  art  of  instrumentation  which  is 
the  newest  department  in  music.  Vocal 
music  had  reached  its  highest  point  be- 
fore instrumental  music  made  a  begin- 
ning as  an  art.  The  former  was  the 
pampered  child  of  the  Church,  the  lat- 
ter was  long  an  outlaw.  As  late  as  the 
fourteenth  and  fifteenth  centuries  in- 
strumentalists were  vagabonds  in  law, 
like  strolling  players.  They  had  none 
of  the  rights  of  citizenship;  the  relig- 
ious sacraments  were  denied  them ; 
their  children  were  not  permitted  to  in- 
herit property  or  learn  an  honorable 
trade  ;  and  after  death  the  property  for 
which  they  had  toiled  escheated  to 
the  crown.  After  the  instruments  had 
achieved  the  privilege  of  artistic  utter- 
ance, they  were  for  a  long  time  mere 
slavish  imitators  of  the  human  voice. 
Bach  treated  them  with  an  insight  into 
their  possibilities  which  was  far  in  ad- 
vance of  his  time,  for  which  reason  he 
is  the  most  modern  composer  of  the 
first  half  of  the  eighteenth  century ;  but 
even  in  Handel's  case  the  rule  was  to 


Old  laws 

Early  in- 



The  mod- 
em band. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

treat  them  chiefly  as  supports  for  the 
voices.  He  multiplied  them  just  as  he 
did  the  voices  in  his  choruses,  consort- 
ing- a  choir  of  oboes  and  bassoons,  and 
another  of  trumpets  of  almost  equal 
numbers  with  his  violins. 

The  so-called  purists  in  England  talk 
a  great  deal  about  restoring  Handel's 
orchestra  in  performances  of  his  orato- 
rios, utterly  unmindful  of  the  fact  that 
to  our  ears,  accustomed  to  the  myriad- 
hued  orchestra  of  to-day,  the  effect 
would  seem  opaque,  heavy,  unbalanced, 
and  without  charm  were  a  band  of 
oboes  to  play  in  unison  with  the  vio- 
lins, another  of  bassoons  to  double  the 
'cellos,  and  half  a  dozen  trumpets  to 
come  flaring  and  crashing  into  the  mu- 
sical mass  at  intervals.  Gluck  in  the 
opera,  and  Haydn  and  Mozart  in  the 
symphony,  first  disclosed  the  charm  of 
the  modern  orchestra  with  the  wind  in- 
struments apportioned  to  the  strings  so 
as  to  obtain  the  multitude  of  tonal  tints 
which  we  admire  to-day.  On  the  lines 
which  they  marked  out  the  progress 
has  been  exceedingly  rapid  and  far- 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

In  the  hands  of  the  latter-day  Ro- 
mantic composers,  and  with  the  help 
of  the  instrument-makers,  who  have 
marvellously  increased  the  capacity  of 
the  wind  instruments,  and  remedied 
the  deficiencies  which  embarrassed  the 
Classical  writers,  the  orchestra  has  de- 
veloped into  an  instrument  such  as 
never  entered  the  mind  of  the  wildest 
dreamer  of  the  last  century.  Its  range 
of  expression  is  almost  infinite.  It  can 
strike  like  a  thunder-bolt,  or  murmur 
like  a  zephyr.  Its  voices  are  multitu- 
dinous. Its  register  is  coextensive  in 
theory  with  that  of  the  modern  piano- 
forte, reaching  from  the  space  immedi- 
ately below  the  sixth  added  line  under 
the  bass  staff  to  the  ninth  added  line 
above  the  treble  staff.  These  two  ex- 
tremes, which  belong  respectively  to 
the  bass  tuba  and  piccolo  flute,  are  not 
at  the  command  of  every  player,  but 
they  are  within  the  capacity  of  the  in- 
struments, and  mark  the  orchestra's 
boundaries  in  respect  of  pitch.  The 
gravest  note  is  almost  as  deep  as  any  in 
which  the  ordinary  human  ear  can  de- 
tect pitch,  and  the  acutest  reaches  the 


of  the 

The  ex- 
of  range. 



The  viols. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

same  extremity  in  the   opposite  direc- 

With  all  the  changes  that  have  come 
over  the  orchestra  in  the  course  of  the 
last  two  hundred  years,  the  string  quar- 
tet has  remained  its  chief  factor.  Its 
voice  cannot  grow  monotonous  or  cloy- 
ing, for,  besides  its  innate  qualities,  it 
commands  a  more  varied  manner  of  ex- 
pression than  all  the  other  instruments 
combined.  The  viol,  which  term  I  shall 
use  generically  to  indicate  all  the  in- 
struments of  the  quartet,  is  the  only 
instrument  in  the  band,  except  the  harp, 
that  can  play  harmony  as  well  as  mel- 
ody. Its  range  is  the  most  extensive  ; 
it  is  more  responsive  to  changes  in  ma- 
nipulation ;  it  is  endowed  more  richly 
than  any  other  instrument  with  varie- 
ties of  timbre  ;  it  has  an  incomparable 
facility  of  execution,  and  answers  more 
quickly  and  more  eloquently  than  any 
of  its  companions  to  the  feelings  of  the 
player.  A  great  advantage  which  the 
viol  possesses  over  wind  instruments 
is  that,  not  being  dependent  on  the 
breath  of  the  player,  there  is  practically 
no  limit  to  its  ability  to  sustain  tones. 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

It  is  because  of  this  long  list  of  good 
qualities  that  it  is  relied  on  to  provide 
the  staff  of  life  to  instrumental  music. 
The  strings  as  commonly  used  show 
four  members  of  the  viol  family,  distin- 
guished among  themselves  by  their 
size,  and  the  quality  in  the  changes  of 
tone  which  grows  out  of  the  differences 
in  size.  The  violins  (Appendix,  Plate  I.) 
are  the  smallest  members  of  the  family. 
Historically  they  are  the  culmination  of 
a  development  toward  diminutiveness, 
for  in  their  early  days  viols  were  larger 
than  they  are  now.  When  the  violin  of 
to-day  entered  the  orchestra  (in  the  score 
of  Monteverde's  opera  "  Orfeo  ")  it  was 
specifically  described  as  a  "  little  French 
violin."  Its  voice,  Berlioz  says,  is  the 
"  true  female  voice  of  the  orchestra." 
Generally  the  violin  part  of  an  orches- 
tral score  is  two-voiced,  but  the  two 
groups  may  be  split  into  a  great  num- 
ber. In  one  passage  in  "Tristan  und 
Isolde "  Wagner  divides  his  first  and 
second  violins  into  sixteen  groups. 
Such  divisions,  especially  in  the  higher 
regions,  are  productive  of  entrancing 


The  viilin. 





How  to  Listen  to  Music 

The  halo  of  sound  which  streams 
from  the  beginning  and  end  of  the 
"  Lohengrin "  prelude  is  produced  by 
this  device.  High  and  close  harmonies 
from  divided  violins  always  sound  ethe- 
real. Besides  their  native  tone  quality 
(that  resulting  from  a  string  stretched 
over  a  sounding  shell  set  to  vibrating 
by  friction),  the  violins  have  a  number 
of  modified  qualities  resulting  from 
changes  in  manipulation.  Sometimes 
the  strings  are  plucked  (pizzicato),  when 
the  result  is  a  short  tone  something  like 
that  of  a  banjo  with  the  metallic  clang 
omitted ;  very  dainty  effects  can  thus 
be  produced,  and  though  it  always 
seems  like  a  degradation  of  the  instru- 
ment so  pre-eminently  suited  to  a  broad 
singing  style,  no  less  significant  a  sym- 
phonist  than  Tscha'ikowsky  has  writ- 
ten a  Scherzo  in  which  the  violins  are 
played  pizzicato  throughout  the  move- 
ment. Ballet  composers  frequently  re- 
sort to  the  piquant  effect,  but  in  the 
larger  and  more  serious  forms  of  com- 
position the  device  is  sparingly  used. 
Differences  in  quality  and  expressive- 
ness of  tone  are  also  produced  by  varied 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

methods  of  applying  the  bow  to  the 
strings  :  with  stronger  or  lighter  press- 
ure;  near  the    bridge,  which   renders 
the  tone  hard  and  brilliant,  and  over  the 
end  of  the  finger-board,  which  softens 
it;  in  a  continuous  manner  (legato),  or 
detached   (staccato].      Weird   effects  in 
dramatic     music    are    sometimes   pro- 
duced by  striking  the  strings  with  the 
wood  of  the  bow,  Wagner  resorting  to 
this  means  to  delineate  the  wicked  glee 
of  his  dwarf  Mime,  and   Meyerbeer  to 
heighten   the   uncanniness  of   Nelusko's 
wild  song  in  the  third  act  of  "  L'Afri- 
caine."     Another  class  of  effects  results 
from  the  manner  in  which  the  strings 
are  "  stopped  "  by  the  fingers  of  the  left 
hand.      When    they    are    not    pressed 
firmly    against    the    finger  -  board    but 
touched  lightly  at  certain  places  called 
nodes  by  the  acousticians,  so  that  the 
segments  below  the  finger  are  permitted 
to  vibrate  along  with   the  upper  por- 
tion, those  peculiar  tones  of  a  flute-like 
quality    called   harmonics    or  flageolet 
tones  are  produced.     These  are  oftener 
heard  in  dramatic  music  than  in  sym- 
phonies;  but  Berlioz,  desiring  to   put 


"Col  legno 
air arco" 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 




"  Con 

Shakespeare's  description  of  Queen 

"  Her  wagon-spokes  made  of  long  spinner's  legs  ; 
The  cover,  of  the  wings  of  grasshoppers  ; 
The  traces,  of  the  smallest  spider's  web  ; 
The  collars,  of  the  moonshine's  watery  beams — " 

into  music  in  his  dramatic  symphony, 
"  Romeo  and  Juliet,"  achieved  a  mar- 
vellously filmy  effect  by  dividing  his 
violins,  and  permitting  some  of  them  to 
play  harmonics.  Yet  so  little  was  his 
ingenious  purpose  suspected  when  he 
first  brought  the  symphony  forward  in 
Paris,  that  one  of  the  critics  spoke  con- 
temptuously of  this  effect  as  sounding 
"  like  an  ill-greased  syringe."  A  quiver- 
ing motion  imparted  to  the  fingers  of 
the  left  hand  in  stopping  the  strings 
produces  a  tremulousness  of  tone  akin 
to  the  vibrato  of  a  singer ;  and,  like  the 
vocal  vibrato,  when  not  carried  to  ex- 
cess, this  effect  is  a  potent  expression 
of  sentimental  feeling.  But  it  is  much 
abused  by  solo  players.  Another  modi- 
fication of  tone  is  caused  by  placing  a 
tiny  instrument  called  a  sordino,  or 
mute,  upon  the  bridge.  This  clamps 

The  Modern  Orchestra 


the  bridge,  makes  it  heavier,  and  checks 
the  vibrations,  so  that  the  tone  is  muted 
or  muffled,  and  at  times  sounds  mys- 

These  devices,  though  as  a  rule  they 
have  their  maximum  of  effectiveness  ii; 
the  violins,  are  possible  also  on  the 
violas,  violoncellos,  and  double-basses, 
which,  as  I  have  already  intimated,  are 
but  violins  of  a  larger  growth.  The 
pizzicato  is,  indeed,  oftenest  heard  from 
the  double-basses,  where  it  has  a  much 
greater  eloquence  than  on  the  violins. 
In  music  of  a  sombre  cast,  the  short, 
deep  tones  given  out  by  the  plucked 
strings  of  the  contra-bass  sometimes 
have  the  awfulness  of  gigantic  heart- 
throbs. The  difficulty  of  producing  the 
other  effects  grows  with  the  increase  of 
difficulty  in  handling  the  instruments, 
this  being  due  to  the  growing  thickness 
of  the  strings  and  the  wideness  of  the 
points  at  which  they  must  be  stopped. 
One  effect  peculiar  to  them  all — the 
most  used  of  all  effects,  indeed,  in  dra- 
matic music — is  the  tremolo,  produced 
by  dividing  a  tone  into  many  quickly 
reiterated  short  tones  by  a  rapid  motion 


on  the 




The  viola. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

of  the  bow.  This  device  came  into  use 
with  one  of  the  earliest  pieces  of  dra- 
matic music.  It  is  two  centuries  old, 
and  was  first  used  to  help  in  the  mu- 
sical delineation  of  a  combat.  With 
scarcely  an  exception,  the  varied  means 
which  I  have  described  can  be  detected 
by  those  to  whom  they  are  not  already 
familiar  by  watching  the  players  while 
listening  to  the  music. 

The  viola  is  next  in  size  to  the  violin, 
and  is  tuned  at  the  interval  of  a  fifth 
lower.  Its  highest  string  is  A,  which  is 
the  second  string  of  the  violin,  and  its 
lowest  C.  Its  tone,  which  sometimes 
contains  a  comical  suggestion  of  a  boy's 
voice  in  mutation,  is  lacking  in  incisive- 
ness  and  brilliancy,  but  for  this  it  com- 
pensates by  a  wonderful  richness  and 
filling  quality,  and  a  pathetic  and  inimi- 
table mournfulnessin  melancholy  music. 
It  blends  beautifully  with  the  violon- 
cello, and  is  often  made  to  double  that 
instrument's  part  for  the  sake  of  color 
effect— as,  to  cite  a  familiar  instance,  in 
the  principal  subject  of  the  Andante  in 
Beethoven's  Fifth  Symphony. 

The  strings  of  the  violoncello  (Plate 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

II.)  are  tuned  like  those  of  the  viola,  but 
an  octave  lower.  It  is  the  knee-fiddle 
(viola  da  gamba)  of  the  last  century,  as 
the  viola  is  the  arm-fiddle  (viola  da  brae- 
do),  and  got  its  old  name  from  the  posi- 
tion in  which  it  is  held  by  the  player. 
The  'cello's  voice  is  a  bass — it  might  be 
called  the  barytone  of  the  choir — and 
in  the  olden  time  of  simple  writing,  lit- 
tle else  was  done  with  it  than  to  double 
the  bass  part  one  octave  higher.  But 
modern  composers,  appreciating  its 
marvellous  capacity  for  expression, 
which  is  next  to  that  of  the  violin,  have 
treated  it  with  great  freedom  and  inde- 
pendence as  a  solo  instrument.  Its  tone 
is  full  of  voluptuous  languor.  It  is  the 
sighing  lover  of  the  instrumental  com- 
pany, and  can  speak  the  language  of 
tender  passion  more  feelingly  than  any 
of  its  fellows.  The  ravishing  effect  of  a 
multiplication  of  its  voice  is  tellingly 
exemplified  in  the  opening  of  the  over- 
ture to  "  William  Tell,"  which  is  written 
for  five  solo  'celli,  though  it  is  oftenest 
heard  in  an  arrangement  which  gives 
two  of  the  middle  parts  to  violas.  When 
Beethoven  wished  to  produce  the  emo- 



The  violon- 




The  double- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tional  impression  of  a  peacefully  rip- 
pling brook  in  his  "  Pastoral "  sym- 
phony, he  gave  a  murmuring  figure  to 
the  divided  violoncellos,  and  Wagner 
uses  the  passionate  accents  of  four  of 
these  instruments  playing  in  harmony 
to  support  Siegmund  when  he  is  pouring 
out  the  ecstasy  of  his  love  in  the  first 
act  of  "Die  Walkure."  In  the  love 
scene  of  Berlioz's  "  Romeo  and  Juliet " 
symphony  it  is  the  violoncello  which 
personifies  the  lover,  and  holds  con- 
verse with  the  modest  oboe. 

The  patriarchal  double-bass  is  known 
to  all,  and  also  its  mission  of  providing 
the  foundation  for  the  harmonic  struct- 
ure of  orchestral  music.  It  sounds  an 
octave  lower  than  the  music  written  for 
it,  being  what  is  called  a  transposing 
instrument  of  sixteen-foot  tone.  Solos 
are  seldom  written  for  this  instrument 
in  orchestral  music,  though  Beethoven, 
with  his  daring  recitatives  in  the  Ninth 
Symphony,  makes  it  a  mediator  between 
the  instrumental  and  vocal  forces.  Dra- 
gonetti  (1763-1846)  and  Bottesini  (1823- 
1889),  two  Italians,  won  great  fame  as 
solo  players  on  the  unwieldy  instru- 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

ment.  The  latter  used  a  small  bass 
viol,  and  strung  it  with  harp  strings; 
but  Dragonetti  played  a  full  double- 
bass,  on  which  he  could  execute  the 
most  difficult  passages  written  for  the 

Since  the  instruments  of  the  wood- 
wind choir  are  frequently  used  in  solos, 
their  acquaintance  can  easily  be  made 
by  an  observing  amateur.  To  this 
division  of  the  orchestra  belong  the 
gentle  accents  in  the  instrumental  lan- 
guage. Violent  expression  is  not  its 
province,  and  generally  when  the  band 
is  discoursing  in  heroic  style  or  giving 
voice  to  brave  or  angry  emotion  the 
wood-winds  are  either  silent  or  are 
used  to  give  weight  to  the  body  of  tone 
rather  than  color.  Each  of  the  instru- 
ments has  a  strongly  characteristic 
voice,  which  adapts  itself  best  to  a  cer- 
tain style  of  music ;  but  by  use  of  dif- 
ferent registers  and  by  combinations 
among  them,  or  with  the  instruments  of 
the  other  choirs,  a  wide  range  of  ex- 
pression within  the  limits  suggested  has 
been  won  for  the  wood-winds. 

The  flute,  which  requires  no  descrip- 



The  wood- 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tion,  is,  for  instance,  an  essentially  soul- 
less instrument ;  but  its  marvellous  agil- 
ity and  the  effectiveness  with  which  its 
tones  can  be  blended  with  others  make 
it  one  of  the  most  useful  instruments 
in  the  band.  Its  native  character,  heard 
in  the  compositions  written  for  it  as  a 
solo  instrument,  has  prevented  it  from 
being  looked  upon  with  dignity.  As  a 
rule,  brilliancy  is  all  that  is  expected 
from  it.  It  is  a  sort  of  soprano  leggier o 
with  a  small  range  of  superficial  feel- 
ings. It  can  sentimentalize,  and,  as 
Dryden  says,  be  "soft,  complaining," 
but  when  we  hear  it  pour  forth  a  veri- 
table ecstasy  of  jubilation,  as  it  does 
in  the  dramatic  climax  of  Beethoven's 
overture  "  Leonore  No.  3,"  we  marvel 
at  the  transformation  effected  by  the 
composer.  Advantage  has  also  been 
taken  of  the  difference  between  its  high 
and  low  tones,  and  now  in  some  roman- 
tic music,  as  in  Raff's  "  Lenore  "  sym- 
phony, or  the  prayer  of  Agathe  in  "  Der 
Freischiitz,"  the  hollowness  of  the  low 
tones  produces  a  mysterious  effect  that 
is  exceedingly  striking.  Still  the  fact 
remains  that  the  native  voice  of  the  in- 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

strument,  though  sweet,  is  expression- 
less compared  with  that  of  the  oboe 
or  clarinet.  Modern  composers  some- 
times write  for  three  flutes  ;  but  in  the 
older  writers,  when  a  third  flute  is  used, 
it  is  generally  an  octave  flute,  or  pic- 
colo flute  (Plate  III.) — a  tiny  instrument 
whose  aggressiveness  of  voice  is  out  of 
all  proportion  to  its  diminutiveness  of 
body.  This  is  the  instrument  which 
shrieks  and  whistles  when  the  band 
is  playing  at  storm-making,  to  imitate 
the  noise  of  the  wind.  It  sounds  an 
octave  higher  than  is  indicated  by  the 
notes  in  its  part,  and  so  is  what  is  called 
a  transposing  instrument  of  four-foot 
tone.  It  revels  in  military  music,  which 
is  proper,  for  it  is  an  own  cousin  to  the 
ear-piercing  fife,  which  annually  makes 
up  for  its  long  silence  in  the  noisy  days 
before  political  elections.  When  you 
hear  a  composition  in  march  time,  with 
bass  and  snare  drum,  cymbals  and  trian- 
gle, such  as  the  Germans  call  "  Turk- 
ish" or  "Janizary"  music,  you  may 
be  sure  to  hear  also  the  piccolo  flute. 
The  flute  is  doubtless  one  of  the 
oldest  instruments  in  the  world.  The 



The  pic- 
colo flute. 



The  story 
of  the 

Reed  in- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

primitive  cave-dwellers  made  flutes  of 
the  leg -bones  of  birds  and  other  ani- 
mals, an  origin  of  which  a  record  is  pre- 
served in  the  Latin  name  tibia.  The 
first  wooden  flutes  were  doubtless  the 
Pandean  pipes,  in  which  the  tone  was 
produced  by  blowing  across  the  open 
ends  of  hollow  reeds.  The  present 
method,  already  known  to  the  ancient 
Egyptians,  of  closing  the  upper  end, 
and  creating  the  tone  by  blowing 
across  a  hole  cut  in  the  side,  is  only  a 
modification  of  the  method  pursued, 
according  to  classic  tradition,  by  Pan 
when  he  breathed  out  his  dejection  at 
the  loss  of  the  nymph  Syrinx,  by  blow- 
ing across  the  tuneful  reeds  which 
were  that  nymph  in  her  metamorphosed 

The  flute  or  pipe  of  the  Greeks  and 
Romans  was  only  distantly  related  to 
the  true  flute,  but  was  the  ancestor  of 
its  orchestral  companions,  the  oboe 
and  clarinet.  These  instruments  are 
sounded  by  being  blown  in  at  the  end, 
and  the  tone  is  created  by  vibrating 
reeds,  whereas  in  the  flute  it  is  the  re- 
sult of  the  impinging  of  the  air  on  the 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

edge  of  the  hole  called  the  embouchure, 
and  the  consequent  stirring  of  the  col- 
umn of  air  in  the  flue  of  the  instrument. 
The  reeds  are  thin  slips  or  blades  of 
cane.  The  size  and  bore  of  the  in- 
struments and  the  difference  between 
these  reeds  are  the  causes  of  the 
differences  in  tone  quality  between 
these  relatives.  The  oboe  or  hautboy, 
English  horn,  and  the  bassoon  have 
what  are  called  double  reeds.  Two 
narrow  blades  of  cane  are  fitted  closely 
together,  and  fastened  with  silk  on  a 
small  metal  tube  extending  from  the 
upper  end  of  the  instrument  in  the  case 
of  the  oboe  and  English  horn,  from  the 
side  in  the  case  of  the  bassoon.  The 
reeds  are  pinched  more  or  less  tightly 
between  the  lips,  and  are  set  to  vibrat- 
ing by  the  breath. 

The  oboe  (Plate  IV.)  is  naturally  as- 
sociated with  music  of  a  pastoral  char- 
acter. It  is  pre-eminently  a  melody  in- 
strument, and  though  its  voice  comes 
forth  shrinkingly,  its  uniqueness  of  tone 
makes  it  easily  heard.  It  is  a  most  lov- 
able instrument.  "  Candor,  artless  grace, 
soft  joy,  or  the  grief  of  a  fragile  being 




The  oboe. 



The  Eng- 
lish horn. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

suits  the  oboe's  accents,"  says  Berlioz. 
The  peculiarity  of  its  mouth-piece  gives 
its  tone  a  reedy  or  vibrating  quality 
totally  unlike  the  clarinet's.  Its  natural 
alto  is  the  English  horn  (Plate  V.),  which 
is  an  oboe  of  larger  growth,  with  curved 
tube  for  convenience  of  manipulation. 
The  tone  of  the  English  horn  is  fuller, 
nobler,  and  is  very  attractive  in  mel- 
ancholy or  dreamy  music.  There  are 
few  players  on  the  English  horn  in  this 
country,  and  it  might  be  set  down  as 
a  rule  that  outside  of  New  York,  Bos- 
ton, and  Chicago,  the  English  horn  parts 
are  played  by  the  oboe  in  America. 
No  melody  displays  the  true  character 
of  the  English  horn  better  than  the 
Ranz  des  Vaches  in  the  overture  to  Ros- 
sini's "  William  Tell  "—that  lovely  Al- 
pine song  which  the  flute  embroiders 
with  exquisite  ornament.  One  of  the 
noblest  utterances  of  the  oboe  is  the 
melody  of  the  funeral  march  in  Beet- 
hoven's "  Heroic  "  symphony,  in  which 
its  tenderness  has  beautiful  play.  It  is 
sometimes  used  effectively  in  imitative 
music.  In  Haydn's  "  Seasons,"  and 
also  in  that  grotesque  tone  poem  by 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

Saint-Saens,  the  "  Danse  Macabre,"  it 
gives  the  cock  crow.  It  is  the  timid 
oboe  that  sounds  the  A  for  the  orchestra 
to  tune  by. 

The  grave  voice  of  the  oboe  is  heard 
from  the  bassoon  (Plate  VI.),  where, 
without  becoming  assertive,  it  gains  a 
quality  entirely  unknown  to  the  oboe 
and  English  horn.  It  is  this  quality 
that  makes  the  bassoon  the  humorist 
par  excellence  of  the  orchestra.  It  is  a 
reedy  bass,  very  apt  to  recall  to  those 
who  have  had  a  country  education  the 
squalling  tone  of  the  homely  instrument 
which  the  farmer's  boy  fashions  out  of 
the  stems  of  the  pumpkin-vine.  The 
humor  of  the  bassoon  is  an  unconscious 
humor,  and  results  from  the  use  made 
of  its  abysmally  solemn  voice.  This 
solemnity  in  quality  is  paired  with  as- 
tonishing flexibility  of  utterance,  so 
that  its  gambols  are  always  grotesque. 
Brahms  permits  the  bassoon  to  intone 
the  Fuchslied  of  the  German  students  in 
his  "  Academic  "  overture.  Beethoven 
achieves  a  decidedly  comical  effect  by 
a  stubborn  reiteration  of  key-note,  fifth, 
and  octave  by  the  bassoon  under  a  rus- 




An  orches- 
tral hu- 



ral e/ects. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tic  dance  intoned  by  the  oboe  in  the 
scherzo  of  his  "  Pastoral  "  symphony  ; 
and  nearly  every  modern  composer  has 
taken  advantage  of  the  instrument's 
grotesqueness.  Mendelssohn  intro- 
duces the  clowns  in  his  "  Midsummer- 
Night's-Dream  "  music  by  a  droll  dance 
for  two  bassoons  over  a  sustained  bass 
note  from  the  violoncellos ;  but  when 
Meyerbeer  wanted  a  very  different  ef- 
fect, a  ghastly  one  indeed,  in  the  scene 
of  the  resuscitation  of  the  nuns  in  his 
"  Robert  le  Diable,"  he  got  it  by  taking 
two  bassoons  as  solo  instruments  and 
using  their  weak  middle  tones,  which, 
Berlioz  says,  have  "  a  pale,  cold,  ca- 
daverous sound."  Singularly  enough, 
Handel  resorted  to  a  similar  device  in 
his  "  Saul,"  to  accompany  the  vision  of 
the  Witch  of  Endor. 

In  all  these  cases  a  great  deal  de- 
pends upon  the  relation  between  the 
character  of  the  melody  and  the  nature 
of  the  instrument  to  which  it  is  set.  A 
swelling  martial  fanfare  may  be  made  ab- 
surd by  changing  it  from  trumpets  to  a 
weak-voiced  wood-wind.  It  is  only  the 
string  quartet  that  speaks  all  the  musical 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

languages  of  passion  and  emotion.  The 
double-bassoon  is  so  large  an  instrument 
that  it  has  to  be  bent  on  itself  to  bring 
it  under  the  control  of  the  player.  It 
sounds  an  octave  lower  than  the  written 
notes.  It  is  not  brought  often  into  the 
orchestra,  but  speaks  very  much  to  the 
purpose  in  Brahms's  beautiful  variations 
on  a  theme  by  Haydn,  and  the  glorious 
finale  of  Beethoven's  Fifth  Symphony. 

The  clarinet  (Plate  VII.)  is  the  most 
eloquent  member  of  the  wood -wind 
choir,  and,  except  some  of  its  own  mod- 
ifications or  the  modifications  of  the 
oboe  and  bassoon,  the  latest  arrival  in 
the  harmonious  company.  It  is  only  a 
little  more  than  a  century  old.  It  has 
the  widest  range  of  expression  of  the 
wood-winds,  and  its  chief  structural  dif- 
ference is  in  its  mouth-piece.  It  has  a 
single  flat  reed,  which  is  much  wider 
than  that  of  the  oboe  or  bassoon,  and  is 
fastened  by  a  metallic  band  and  screw 
to  the  flattened  side  of  the  mouth-piece, 
whose  other  side  is  cut  down,  chisel 
shape,  for  convenience.  Its  voice  is  rich, 
mellow,  less  reedy,  and  much  fuller  and 
more  limpid  than  the  voice  of  the  oboe, 



The  double 




The  bass 

Lips  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

which  Berlioz  tries  to  describe  by  anal- 
ogy as  "  sweet-sour."  It  is  very  flexible, 
too,  and  has  a  range  of  over  three  and  a 
half  octaves.  Its  high  tones  are  some- 
times shrieky,  however,  and  the  full 
beauty  of  the  instrument  is  only  dis- 
closed when  it  sings  in  the  middle  reg- 
ister. Every  symphony  and  overture 
contains  passages  for  the  clarinet  which 
serve  to  display  its  characteristics. 
Clarinets  are  made  of  different  sizes  for 
different  keys,  the  smallest  being  that 
in  E-flat,  with  an  unpleasantly  piercing 
tone,  whose  use  is  confined  to  military 
bands.  There  is  also  an  alto  clarinet 
and  a  bass  clarinet  (Plate  VIII.).  The 
bell  of  the  latter  instrument  is  bent 
upward,  pipe  fashion,  and  its  voice  is 
peculiarly  impressive  and  noble.  It  is  a 
favorite  solo  instrument  in  Liszt's  sym- 
phonic poems. 

The  fundamental  principle  of  the  in- 
struments last  described  is  the  produc- 
tion of  tone  by  vibrating  reeds.  In  the 
instruments  of  the  brass  choir,  the  duty 
of  the  reeds  is  performed  by  the  lips  of 
the  player.  Variety  of  tone  in  respect 
of  quality  is  produced  by  variations  in 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

size,  shape,  and  modifications  in  parts 
like  the  bell  and  mouth-piece.  The  forte 
of  the  orchestra  receives  the  bulk  of  its 
puissance  from  the  brass  instruments, 
which,  nevertheless,  can  give  voice  to 
an  extensive  gamut  of  sentiments  and 
feelings.  There  is  nothing  more  cheery 
and  jocund  than  the  flourishes  of  the 
horns,  but  also  nothing  more  mild  and 
soothing  than  the  songs  which  some- 
times they  sing.  There  is  nothing  more 
solemn  and  religious  than  the  harmony 
of  the  trombones,  while  "  the  trumpet's 
loud  clangor  "  is  the  very  voice  of  a  war- 
like spirit.  All  of  these  instruments  have 
undergone  important  changes  within  the 
last  few  score  years.  The  classical  com- 
posers, almost  down  to  our  own  time, 
were  restricted  in  the  use  of  them  be- 
cause they  were  merely  natural  tubes, 
and  their  notes  were  limited  to  the 
notes  which  inflexible  tubes  can  produce. 
Within  this  century,  however,  they  have 
all  been  transformed  from  imperfect 
diatonic  instruments  to  perfect  chro- 
matic instruments ;  that  is  to  say,  every 
brass  instrument  which  is  in  use  now 
can  give  out  all  the  semitones  within  its 



The  brass 

ments in 
brass  in- 



Valves  and 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

compass.  This  has  been  accomplished 
through  the  agency  of  valves,  by  means 
of  which  differing  lengths  of  the  sono- 
rous tube  are  brought  within  the  com- 
mand of  the  players.  In  the  case  of  the 
trombones  an  exceedingly  venerable 
means  of  accomplishing  the  same  end 
is  applied.  The  tube  is  in  part  made 
double,  one  part  sliding  over  the  other. 
By  moving  his  arm,  the  player  length- 
ens or  shortens  the  tube,  and  thus  chang- 
ing the  key  of  the  instrument,  acquires 
all  the  tones  which  can  be  obtained 
from  so  many  tubes  of  different  lengths. 
The  mouth-pieces  of  the  trumpet,  trom- 
bone, and  tuba  are  cup -shaped,  and 
larger  than  the  mouth-piece  of  the  horn, 
which  is  little  else  than  a  flare  of  the 
slender  tube,  sufficiently  wide  to  receive 
enough  of  the  player's  lips  to  form  the 
embouchure,  or  human  reed,  as  it  might 
here  be  named 

The  French  horn  (Plate  IX.),  as  it  is 
called  in  the  orchestra,  is  the  sweetest 
and  mellowest  of  all  the  wind  instru- 
ments. In  Beethoven's  time  it  was  but 
little  else  than  the  old  hunting-horn, 
which,  for  the  convenience  of  the 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

mounted  hunter,  was  arranged  in  spiral 
convolutions  that  it  might  be  slipped 
over  the  head  and  carried  resting  on 
one  shoulder  and  under  the  opposite 
arm.  The  Germans  still  call  it  the 
Waldhorn,  i.e.,  "  forest  horn ; "  the  old 
French  name  was  cor  de  chasse,  the 
Italian  corno  di  caccia.  In  this  instru- 
ment formerly  the  tones  which  were 
not  the  natural  resonances  of  the  har- 
monic division  of  the  tube  were  helped 
out  by  partly  closing  the  bell  with  the 
right  hand,  it  having  been  discovered 
accidentally  that  by  putting  the  hand 
into  the  lower  end  of  the  tube — the  flar- 
ing part  called  the  bell— the  pitch  of  a 
tone  was  raised.  Players  still  make  use 
of  this  method  for  convenience,  and 
sometimes  because  a  .composer  wishes 
to  employ  the  slightly  muffled  effect  of 
these  tones ;  but  since  valves  have  been 
added  to  the  instrument,  it  is  possible 
to  play  a  chromatic  scale  in  what  are 
called  the  unstopped  or  open  tones. 

Formerly  it  was  necessary  to  use 
horns  of  different  pitch,  and  composers 
still  respect  this  tradition,  and  designate 
the  key  of  the  horns  which  they  wish  to 



tion oftht 

Kinds  of 




The  cornet. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

have  employed ;  but  so  skilful  have  the 
players  become  that,  as  a  rule,  they  use 
horns  whose  fundamental  tone  is  F  for 
all  keys,  and  achieve  the  old  purpose 
by  simply  transposing  the  music  as 
they  read  it.  If  these  most  graceful 
instruments  were  straightened  out  they 
would  be  seventeen  feet  long.  The  con- 
volutions of  the  horn  and  the  many  turns 
of  the  trumpet  are  all  the  fruit  of  neces- 
sity ;  they  could  not  be  manipulated  to 
produce  the  tones  that  are  asked  of 
them  if  they  were  not  bent  and  curved. 
The  trumpet,  when  its  tube  is  length- 
ened by  the  addition  of  crooks  for  its 
lowest  key,  is  eight  feet  long ;  the  tuba, 
sixteen.  In  most  orchestras  (in  all  of 
those  in  the  United  States,  in  fact,  ex- 
cept the  Boston  and  Chicago  Orches- 
tras and  the  Symphony  Society  of  New 
York)  the  word  trumpet  is  merely  a 
euphemism  for  cornet,  the  familiar  lead- 
ing instrument  of  the  brass  band,  which, 
while  it  falls  short  of  the  trumpet  in 
the  quality  of  its  tone,  in  the  upper  reg- 
isters especially,  is  a  more  easily  ma- 
nipulated instrument  than  the  trumpet, 
and  is  preferable  in  the  lower  tones. 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

Mendelssohn  is  quoted  as  saying 
that  the  trombones  (Plate  X.)  "  are  too 
sacred  to  use  often."  They  have,  in- 
deed, a  majesty  and  nobility  all  their 
own,  and  the  lowest  use  to  which  they 
can  be  put  is  to  furnish  a  flaring  and 
noisy  harmony  in  an  orchestral  tutti. 
They  are  marvellously  expressive  in- 
struments, and  without  a  peer  in  the 
whole  instrumental  company  when  a 
solemn  and  spiritually  uplifting  effect  is 
to  be  attained.  They  can  also  be  made 
to  sound  menacing  and  lugubrious,  de- 
vout and  mocking,  pompously  heroic, 
majestic,  and  lofty.  They  are  often  the 
heralds  of  the  orchestra,  and  make  so- 
norous proclamations. 

The  classic  composers  always  seemed 
to  approach  the  trombones  with  marked 
respect,  but  nowadays  it  requires  a  very 
big  blue  pencil  in  the  hands  of  a  very  un- 
compromising conservatory  professor  to 
prevent  a  student  engaged  on  his  Opus  i 
from  keeping  his  trombones  going  half 
the  time  at  least.  It  is  an  old  story  how 
Mozart  keeps  the  instruments  silent 
through  three-fourths  of  his  immortal 
"  Don  Giovanni,"  so  that  they  may 







The  tuba. 

ments of 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

enter  with  overwhelming  impressive- 
ness  along  with  the  ghostly  visitor  of  the 
concluding  scene.  As  a  rule,  there  are 
three  trombones  in  the  modern  orches- 
tra— two  tenors  and  a  bass.  Formerly 
there  were  four  kinds,  bearing  the 
names  of  the  voices  to  which  they  were 
supposed  to  be  nearest  in  tone-quality 
and  compass — soprano,  alto,  tenor,  and 
bass.  Full  four-part  harmony  is  now  per- 
formed by  the  three  trombones  and  the 
tuba  (Plate  XL).  The  latter  instru- 
ment, which,  despite  its  gigantic  size, 
is  exceedingly  tractable  can  "  roar  you 
as  gently  as  any  sucking  dove."  Far- 
away and  strangely  mysterious  tones 
are  got  out  of  the  brass  instruments, 
chiefly  the  cornet  and  horn,  by  almost 
wholly  closing  the  bell. 

The  percussion  apparatus  of  the  mod- 
ern orchestra  includes  a  multitude  of 
instruments  scarcely  deserving  of  de- 
scription. Several  varieties  of  drums, 
cymbals,  triangle,  tambourine,  steel  bars 
(Glockenspiel),  gongs,  bells,  and  many 
other  things  which  we  are  now  inclined 
to  look  upon  as  toys,  rather  than  as 
musical  instruments,  are  brought  into 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

play  for  reasons  more  or  less  fantastic. 
Saint-Saens  has  even  utilized  the  bar- 
barous xylophone,  whose  proper  place 
is  the  variety  hall,  in  his  "  Danse  Mac- 
abre." There  his  purpose  was  a  fan- 
tastic one,  and  the  effect  is  capital.  The 
pictorial  conceit  at  the  bottom  of  the 
poem  which  the  music  illustrates  is 
Death,  as  a  skeleton,  seated  on  a  tomb- 
stone, playing  the  viol,  and  gleefully 
cracking  his  bony  heels  against  the 
marble.  To  produce  this  effect,  the 
composer  uses  the  xylophone  with  capi- 
tal results.  But  of  all  the  ordinary  in- 
struments of  percussion,  the  only  one 
that  is  really  musical  and  deserving  of 
comment  is  the  kettle-drum.  This  in- 
strument is  more  musical  than  the 
others  because  it  has  pitch.  Its  voice 
is  not  mere  noise,  but  musical  noise. 
Kettle-drums,  or  tympani,  are  generally 
used  in  pairs,  though  the  vast  multipli- 
cation of  effects  by  modern  composers 
has  resulted  also  in  the  extension  of  this 
department  of  the  band.  It  is  seldom 
that  more  than  two  pairs  are  used,  a 
good  player  with  a  quick  ear  being  able 
to  accomplish  all  that  Wagner  asks  of 











How  to  Listen  to  Music 

six  drums  by  his  deftness  in  changing 
the  pitch  of  the  instruments.  This 
work  of  tuning  is  still  performed  gen- 
erally  in  what  seems  a  rudimentary 
way,  though  a  German  drum-builder 
named  Pfund  invented  a  contrivance  by 
which  the  player,  by  simply  pressing 
on  a  balanced  pedal  and  watching  an 
indicator  affixed  to  the  side  of  the 
drums,  can  change  the  pitch  to  any  de- 
sired semitone  within  the  range  of  an 

The  tympani  are  hemispherical  brass 
or  copper  vessels,  kettles  in  short,  cov- 
ered with  vellum  heads.  The  pitch  of 
the  instrument  depends  on  the  tension 
of  the  head,  which  is  applied  generally 
by  key -screws  working  through  the 
iron  ring  which  holds  the  vellum. 
There  is  a  difference  in  the  size  of  the 
drums  to  place  at  the  command  of  the 
player  the  octave  from  F  in  the  first 
space  below  the  bass  staff  to  F  on  the 
fourth  line  of  the  same  staff.  Formerly 
the  purpose  of  the  drums  was  simply  to 
give  emphasis,  and  they  were  then  uni- 
formly tuned  to  the  key-note  and  fifth 
of  the  key  in  which  a  composition  was 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

set  Now  they  are  tuned  in  many  ways, 
not  only  to  allow  for  the  frequent 
change  of  keys,  but  also  so  that  they 
may  be  used  as  harmony  instruments. 
Berlioz  did  more  to  develop  the  drums 
than  any  composer  who  has  ever  lived, 
though  Beethoven  already  manifested 
appreciation  of  their  independent  musi- 
cal value.  In  the  last  movement  of  his 
Eighth  Symphony  and  the  scherzo  of 
his  Ninth,  he  tunes  them  in  octaves,  his 
purpose  in  the  latter  case  being  to  give 
the  opening  figure,  an  octave  leap,  of  the 
scherzo  melody  to  the  drums  solo.  The 
most  extravagant  use  ever  made  of 
the  drums,  however,  was  by  Berlioz  in 
his  "  Messe  des  Morts,"  where  he  called 
in  eight  pairs  of  drums  and  ten  players 
to  help  him  to  paint  his  tonal  picture  of 
the  terrors  of  the  last  judgment.  The 
post  of  drummer  is  one  of  the  most  dif- 
ficult to  fill  in  a  symphonic  orchestra. 
He  is  required  to  have  not  only  a  per- 
fect sense  of  time  and  rhythm,  but  also 
a  keen  sense  of  pitch,  for  often  the  com- 
poser asks  him  to  change  the  pitch  of 
one  or  both  of  his  drums  in  the  space 
of  a  very  few  seconds.  He  must  then 


Pitch  of  the 

tions of  a 


The  bass 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 

be  able  to  shut  all  other  sounds  out  of 
his  mind,  and  bring  his  drums  into  a 
new  key  while  the  orchestra  is  playing 
— an  extremely  nice  task. 

The  development  of  modern  orches- 
tral music  has  given  dignity  also  to  the 
bass  drum,  which,  though  definite  pitch 
is  denied  to  it,  is  now  manipulated  in  a 
variety  of  ways  productive  of  striking 
effects.  Rolls  are  played  on  it  with  the 
sticks  of  the  kettle-drums,  and  it  has 
been  emancipated  measurably  from  the 
cymbals,  which  in  vulgar  brass -band 
music  are  its  inseparable  companions. 

In  the  full  sense  of  the  term  the  or- 
chestral conductor  is  a  product  of  the 
latter  half  of  the  present  century.  Of 
course,  ever  since  concerted  music  be- 
gan, there  has  been  a  musical  leader  of 
some  kind.  Mural  paintings  and  carv- 
ings fashioned  in  Egypt  long  before 
Apollo  sang  his  magic  song  and 

"  Ilion,  like  a  mist,  rose  into  towers," 

show  the  conductor  standing  before  his 
band  beating  time  by  clapping  his 
hands ;  and  if  we  are  to  credit  what  we 
have  been  told  about  Hebrew  music, 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

Asaph,  Heman,  and  Jeduthun,  when 
they  stood  before  their  multitudinous 
choirs  in  the  temple  at  Jerusalem,  pro- 
moted synchronism  in  the  performance 
by  stamping  upon  the  floor  with  lead- 
shodden  feet.  Before  the  era  which  de- 
veloped what  I  might  call  "  star  "  con- 
ductors, these  leaders  were  but  captains 
of  tens  and  captains  of  hundreds  who 
accomplished  all  that  was  expected  of 
them  if  they  made  the  performers  keep 
musical  step  together.  They  were  time- 
beaters  merely — human  metronomes. 
The  modern  conductor  is,  in  a  sense  not 
dreamed  of  a  century  ago,  a  mediator 
between  the  composer  and  the  audi- 
ence. He  is  a  virtuoso  who  plays  upon 
men  instead  of  a  key -board,  upon  a 
hundred  instruments  instead  of  one. 
Music  differs  from  her  sister  arts  in 
many  respects,  but  in  none  more  than 
in  her  dependence  on  the  intermediary 
who  stands  between  her  and  the  people 
for  whose  sake  she  exists.  It  is  this  in- 
termediary who  wakens  her  into  life. 

"  Heard  melodies  arc  sweet,  but  those  unheard 
Are  sweeter," 


ers and  in- 


The  con- 
ductor a 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

is  a  pretty  bit  of  hyperbole  which  in- 
volves a  contradiction  in  terms.  An  un- 
heard melody  is  no  melody  at  all,  and  as 
soon  as  we  have  music  in  which  a  num- 
ber of  singers  or  instrumentalists  are 
employed,  the  taste,  feeling,  and  judg- 
ment of  an  individual  are  essential  to  its 
intelligent  and  effective  publication.  In 
the  gentle  days  of  the  long  ago,  when 
suavity  and  loveliness  of  utterance  and 
a  recognition  of  formal  symmetry  were 
the  "  be-all  and  end-all "  of  the  art,  a  time- 
beater  sufficed  to  this  end  ;  but  now  the 
contents  of  music  are  greater,  the  vessel 
has  been  wondrously  widened,  the  lan- 
guage is  become  curiously  complex  and 
ingenious,  and  no  composer  of  to-day 
can  write  down  universally  intelligible 
signs  for  all  that  he  wishes  to  say. 
Someone  must  grasp  the  whole,  ex- 
pound it  to  the  individual  factors  which 
make  up  the  performing  sum  and  pro- 
vide what  is  called  an  interpretation  to 
the  public. 

That  someone,  of  course,  is  the  con- 
ductor, and  considering  the  progress 
that  music  is  continually  making  it  is 
not  at  all  to  be  wondered  at  that  he  has 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

become  a  person  of  stupendous  power 
in  the  culture  of  to-day.  The  one  singu- 
larity is  that  he  should  be  so  rare.  This 
rarity  has  had  its  natural  consequence, 
and  the  conductor  who  can  conduct,  in 
contradistinction  to  the  conductor  who 
can  only  beat  time,  is  now  a  "  star."  At 
present  we  see  him  going  from  place 
to  place  in  Europe  giving  concerts  in 
which  he  figures  as  the  principal  at- 
traction. The  critics  discuss  his  "  read- 
ings "  just  as  they  do  the  performances 
of  great  pianists  and  singers.  A  hun- 
dred blowers  of  brass,  scrapers  of  strings, 
and  tootlers  on  windy  wood,  labor  be- 
neath him  transmuting  the  composer's 
mysterious  symbols  into  living  sound, 
and  when  it  is  all  over  we  frequently 
find  that  it  seems  all  to  have  been  done 
for  the  greater  glory  of  the  conductor 
instead  of  the  glory  of  art.  That,  how- 
ever, is  a  digression  which  it  is  not  nec- 
essary to  pursue. 

Questions  and  remarks  have  fre- 
quently been  addressed  to  me  indica- 
tive of  the  fact  that  there  is  a  wide- 
spread popular  conviction  that  the 
mission  of  a  conductor  is  chiefly  orna- 



••  Star  " 





What  the 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

mental  at  an  orchestral  concert.  That 
is  a  sad  misconception,  and  grows  out 
of  the  old  notion  that  a  conductor  is 
only  a  time-beater.  Assuming  that  the 
men  of  the  band  have  played  sufficiently 
together,  it  is  thought  that  eventually 
they  might  keep  time  without  the  help 
of  the  conductor.  It  is  true  that  the 
greater  part  of  the  conductor's  work  is 
done  at  rehearsal,  at  which  he  enforces 
upon  his  men  his  wishes  concerning  the 
speed  of  the  music,  expression,  and  the 
balance  of  tone  between  the  different 
instruments.  But  all  the  injunctions 
given  at  rehearsal  byword  of  mouth  are 
reiterated  by  means  of  a  system  of  signs 
and  signals  during  the  concert  perform- 
ance. Time  and  rhythm  are  indicated 
by  the  movements  of  the  baton,  the 
former  by  the  speed  of  the  beats,  the 
latter  by  the  direction,  the  tones  upon 
which  the  principal  stress  is  to  fall  being 
indicated  by  the  down-beat  of  the  bat- 
on. The  amplitude  of  the  movements 
also  serves  to  indicate  the  conductor's 
wishes  concerning  dynamic  variations, 
while  the  left  hand  is  ordinarily  used  in 
pantomimic  gestures  to  control  indi- 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

vidual  players  or  groups.  Glances  and 
a  play  of  facial  expression  also  assist  in 
the  guidance  of  the  instrumental  body. 
Every  musician  is  expected  to  count  the 
rests  which  occur  in  his  part,  but  when 
they  are  of  long  duration  (and  some- 
times they  amount  to  a  hundred  meas- 
ures or  more)  it  is  customary  for  the 
conductor  to  indicate  the  entrance  of  an 
instrument  by  a  glance  at  the  player. 
From  this  mere  outline  of  the  communi- 
cations which  pass  between  the  con- 
ductor and  his  band  it  will  be  seen  how 
indispensable  he  is  if  music  is  to  have  a 
consistent  and  vital  interpretation. 

The  layman  will  perhaps  also  be 
enabled,  by  observing  the  actions  of  a 
conductor  with  a  little  understanding 
of  their  purposes,  to  appreciate  what 
critics  mean  when  they  speak  of  the 
"  magnetism  "  of  a  leader.  He  will  un- 
derstand that  among  other  things  it 
means  the  aptitude  or  capacity  for  cre- 
ating a  sympathetic  relationship  be- 
tween himself  and  his  men  which  en- 
ables him  the  better  by  various  devices, 
some  arbitrary,  some  technical  and  con- 
ventional, to  imbue  them  with  his 



Rests  and 




The  score. 

Its  ar- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

thoughts  and  feelings  relative  to  a  com- 
position, and  through  them  to  body 
them  forth  to  the  audience. 

What  it  is  that  the  conductor  has  to 
guide  him  while  giving  his  mute  com- 
mands to  his  forces  may  be  seen  in  the 
reproduction,  in  the  Appendix,  of  a  page 
from  an  orchestral  score  (Plate  XII.). 
A  score,  it  will  be  observed,  is  a  repro- 
duction of  all  the  parts  of  a  composition 
as  they  lie  upon  the  desks  of  the  players. 
The  ordering  of  these  parts  in  the  score 
has  not  always  been  as  now,  but  the 
plan  which  has  the  widest  and  longest 
approval  is  that  illustrated  in  our  exam- 
ple. The  wood-winds  are  grouped  to- 
gether on  the  uppermost  six  staves,  the 
brass  in  the  middle  with  the  tympani 
separating  the  horns  and  trumpets  from 
the  trombones,  the  strings  on  the  lower- 
most five  staves.  The  example  has  been 
chosen  because  it  shows  all  the  instru- 
ments of  the  band  employed  at  once  (it 
is  the  famous  opening  tutti  of  the  tri- 
umphal march  of  Beethoven's  Fifth 
Symphony),  and  is  easy  of  comprehen- 
sion by  musical  amateurs  for  the  reason 
that  none  of  the  parts  requires  transpo- 

The  Modern  Orchestra 

sition  except  it  be  an  octave  up  in  the 
case  of  the  piccolo,  an  instrument  of 
four-foot  tone,  and  an  octave  down  in  the 
case  of  the  double-basses,  which  are  of 
sixteen-foot  tone.  All  the  other  parts  are 
to  be  read  as  printed,  proper  attention 
being  given  to  the  alto  and  tenor  clefs 
used  in  the  parts  of  the  trombones  and 
violas.  The  ability  to  "  read  score  "  is 
one  of  the  most  essential  attributes  of  a 
conductor,  who,  if  he  have  the  proper 
training,  can  bring  all  the  parts  together 
and  reproduce  them  on  the  pianoforte, 
transposing  those  which  do  not  sound 
as  written  and  reading  the  different 
clefs  at  sight  as  he  goes  along. 





At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

and  Popu- 

IN  popular  phrase  all  high-class  music 
is  "classical,"  and  all  concerts  at 
which  such  music  is  played  are  "  classi- 
cal concerts."  Here  the  word  is  con- 
ceived as  the  antithesis  of  "  popular," 
which  term  is  used  to  designate  the  or- 
dinary music  of  the  street  and  music- 
hall.  Elsewhere  I  have  discussed  the 
true  meaning  of  the  word  and  shown  its 
relation  to  "  romantic  "  in  the  terminol- 
ogy of  musical  critics  and  historians. 
No  harm  is  done  by  using  both  "  classi- 
cal "  and  "  popular  "  in  their  common 
significations,  so  far  as  they  convey  a 
difference  in  character  between  con- 
certs. The  highest  popular  conception 
of  a  classical  concert  is  one  in  which  a 
complete  orchestra  performs  sympho- 
nies and  extended  compositions  in  allied 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 


forms,  such  as  overtures,  symphonic 
poems,  and  concertos.  Change  the 
composition  of  the  instrumental  body, 
by  omitting  the  strings  and  augmenting 
the  reed  and  brass  choirs,  and  you  have 
a  military  band  which  is  best  employed 
in  the  open  air,  and  whose  programmes 
are  generally  made  up  of  compositions 
in  the  simpler  and  more  easily  compre- 
hended forms  —  dances,  marches,  fan- 
tasias on  popular  airs,  arrangements  of 
operatic  excerpts  and  the  like.  These, 
then,  are  popular  concerts  in  the  broad- 
est sense,  though  it  is  proper  enough  to 
apply  the  term  also  to  concerts  given 
by  a  symphonic  band  when  the  pro- 
gramme is  light  in  character  and  aims 
at  more  careless  diversion  than  should 
be  sought  at  a  "  classical  "  concert. 
The  latter  term,  again,  is  commended 
to  use  by  the  fact  that  as  a  rule  the 
music  performed  at  such  a  concert  ex- 
emplifies the  higher  forms  in  the  art, 
classicism  in  music  being  defined  as 
that  principle  which  seeks  expression 
in  beauty  of  form,  in  a  symmetrical  or- 
dering of  parts  and  logical  sequence, 
"  preferring  aesthetic  beauty,  pure  and 

CHAP.  V. 

and  mili- 
tary bands. 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

CHAP.  V. 

The  Sym- 

ideas  about 

simple,  over  emotional   content,"  as  I 
have  said  in  Chapter  III. 

As  the  highest  type  of  instrumental 
music,  we  take  the  Symphony.  Very 
rarely  indeed  is  a  concert  given  by  an 
organization  like  the  New  York  and 
London  Philharmonic  Societies,  or  the 
Boston  and  Chicago  Orchestras,  at 
which  the  place  of  honor  in  the  scheme 
of  pieces  is  not  given  to  a  symphony. 
Such  a  concert  is  for  that  reason  also 
spoken  of  popularly  as  a  "Symphony 
concert,"  and  no  confusion  would  nec- 
essarily result  from  the  use  of  the  term 
even  if  it  so  chanced  that  there  was  no 
symphony  on  the  programme.  What 
idea  the  word  symphony  conveys  to  the 
musically  illiterate  it  would  be  difficult 
to  tell.  I  have  known  a  professional 
wAter  on  musical  subjects  to  express 
the  opinion  that  a  symphony  was  noth- 
ing else  than  four  unrelated  composi- 
tions for  orchestra  arranged  in  a  certain 
sequence  for  the  sake  of  an  agreeable 
contrast  of  moods  and  tempos.  It  is 
scarcely  necessary  to  say  that  the  writer 
in  question  had  a  very  poor  opinion  of 
the  Symphony  as  an  Art-form,  and  be» 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

lieved  that  it  had  outlived  its  usefulness 
and  should  be  relegated  to  the  limbo  of 
Archaic  Things.  If  he,  however,  trained 
in  musical  history  and  familiar  with 
musical  literature,  could  see  only  four 
unrelated  pieces  of  music  in  a  sym- 
phony by  Beethoven,  we  need  not  mar- 
vel that  hazy  notions  touching  the  nat- 
ure of  the  form  are  prevalent  among 
the  untaught  public,  and  that  people 
can  be  met  in  concert-rooms  to  whom 
such  words  as  "  Symphony  in  C  minor," 
and  the  printed  designations  of  the  dif- 
ferent portions  of  the  work — the  "  move- 
ments," as  musicians  call  them — are  ut- 
terly bewildering. 

The  word  symphony  has  itself  a  sin- 
gularly variegated  history.  Like  many 
another  term  in  music  it  was  borrowed 
by  the  modern  world  from  the  ancient 
Greek.  To  those  who  coined  it,  how- 
ever, it  had  a  much  narrower  meaning 
than  to  us  who  use  it,  with  only  a  con- 
ventional change  in  transliteration,  now. 
By  cvfifovta  the  Greeks  simply  ex- 
pressed the  concept  of  agreement,  or 
consonance.  Applied  to  music  it  meant 
first  such  intervals  as  unisons;  then 


CHAP.  V. 

History  of 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

CHAP.  V. 

Changes  in 

"  Pastoral 

the  notion  was  extended  to  include 
consonant  harmonies,  such  as  the  fifth, 
fourth,  and  octave.  The  study  of  the 
ancient  theoreticians  led  the  musicians 
of  the  Middle  Ages  to  apply  the 
word  to  harmony  in  general.  Then 
in  some  inexplicable  fashion  it  came 
to  stand  as  a  generic  term  for  instru- 
mental compositions  such  as  toccatas, 
sonatas,  etc.  Its  name  was  given  to 
one  of  the  precursors  of  the  pianoforte, 
and  in  Germany  in  the  sixteenth  cen- 
tury the  word  Symphoney  came  to 
mean  a  town  band.  In  the  last  century 
and  the  beginning  of  this  the  term  was 
used  to  designate  an  instrumental  intro- 
duction to  a  composition  for  voices, 
such  as  a  song  or  chorus,  as  also  an  in- 
strumental piece  introduced  in  a  choral 
work.  The  form,  that  is  the  extent  and 
structure  of  the  composition,  had  noth- 
ing to  do  with  the  designation,  as  we 
see  from  the  Italian  shepherds'  tune 
which  Handel  set  for  strings  in  "  The 
Messiah  ; "  he  called  it  simply  fifa,  but 
his  publishers  called  it  a  "  Pastoral 
symphony,"  and  as  such  we  still  know 
it.  It  was  about  the  middle  of  the  eigh- 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

teenth  century  that  the  present  signifi- 
cation became  crystallized  in  the  word, 
and  since  the  symphonies  of  Haydn,  in 
which  the  form  first  reached  perfection, 
are  still  to  be  heard  in  our  concert- 
rooms,  it  may  be  said  that  all  the  mas- 
terpieces of  symphonic  literature  are 

I  have  already  hinted  at  the  fact  that 
there  is  an  intimate  relationship  between 
the  compositions  usually  heard  at  a  clas- 
sical concert.  Symphonies,  symphonic 
poems,  concertos  for  solo  instruments 
and  orchestra,  as  well  as  the  various 
forms  of  chamber  music,  such  as  trios, 
quartets,  and  quintets  for  strings,  or 
pianoforte  and  strings,  are  but  different 
expressions  of  the  idea  which  is  best 
summed  up  in  the  word  sonata.  What 
musicians  call  the  "  sonata  form  "  lies  at 
the  bottom  of  them  all — even  those  which 
seem  to  consist  of  a  single  piece,  like  the 
symphonic  poem  and  overture.  Pro- 
vided it  follow,  not  of  necessity  slav- 
ishly, but  in  its  general  structure,  a  cer- 
tain scheme  which  was  slowly  developed 
by  the  geniuses  who  became  the  law- 
givers of  the  art,  a  composite  or  cyclical 


CHAP.  V. 

The  allied 



CHAP.  V. 

sonata,  and 

What  a 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

composition  (that  is,  one  composed  of  a 
number  of  parts,  or  movements)  is,  as 
the  case  may  be,  a  symphony,  concerto, 
or  sonata.  It  is  a  sonata  if  it  be  written 
for  a  solo  instrument  like  the  pianoforte 
or  organ,  or  for  one  like  the  violin  or 
clarinet,  with  pianoforte  accompaniment. 
If  the  accompaniment  be  written  for  or- 
chestra, it  is  called  a  concerto.  A  sonata 
written  for  an  orchestra  is  a  symphony. 
The  nature  of  the  interpreting  medium 
naturally  determines  the  exposition  of 
the  form,  but  all  the  essential  attributes 
can  be  learned  from  a  study  of  the  sym- 
phony, which  because  of  the  dignity  and 
eloquence  of  its  apparatus  admits  of  a 
wider  scope  than  its  allies,  and  must  be 
accepted  as  the  highest  type,  not  merely 
of  the  sonata,  but  of  the  instrumental 
art.  It  will  be  necessary  presently  to 
point  out  the  more  important  modifica- 
tions which  compositions  of  this  charac- 
ter have  undergone  in  the  development 
of  music,  but  the  ends  of  clearness  will 
be  best  subserved  if  the  study  be  con- 
ducted on  fundamental  lines. 

The  symphony  then,  as  a  rule,  is  a 
composition  for  orchestra  made  up  of 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

four  parts,  or  movements,  which  are  not 
only  related  to  each  other  by  a  bond  of 
sympathy  established  by  the  keys  chosen 
but  also  by  their  emotional  contents. 
Without  this  higher  bond  the  unity  of 
the  work  would  be  merely  mechanical, 
like  the  unity  accomplished  by  sameness 
of  key  in  the  old-fashioned  suite.  (See 
Chapter  VI.)  The  bond  of  key-relation- 
ship, though  no  longer  so  obvious  as 
once  it  was,  is  yet  readily  discovered  by 
a  musician  ;  the  spiritual  bond  is  more 
elusive,  and  presents  itself  for  recogni- 
tion to  the  imagination  and  the  feelings 
of  the  listener.  Nevertheless,  it  is  an 
element  in  every  truly  great  symphony, 
and  I  have  already  indicated  how  it  may 
sometimes  become  patent  to  the  ear 
alone,  so  it  be  intelligently  employed, 
and  enjoy  the  co-operation  of  memory. 

It  is  the  first  movement  of  a  sym- 
phony which  embodies  the  structural 
scheme  called  the  "sonata  form."  It 
has  a  triple  division,  and  Mr.  Edward 
Dannreuther  has  aptly  defined  it  as 
"the  triune  symmetry  of  exposition, 
illustration,  and  repetition."  In  the 
first  division  the  composer  introduces 


CHAF.  V. 

The  bond  of 
unity  be- 
tween the 



CHAP.  V. 

of  subjects. 

of  the  first 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

the  melodies  which  he  has  chosen  to 
be  the  thematic  material  of  the  move- 
ment, and  to  fix  the  character  of  the 
entire  work ;  he  presents  it  for  identifi- 
cation. The  themes  are  two,  and  their 
exposition  generally  exemplifies  the 
principle  of  key-relationship,  which  was 
the  basis  of  my  analysis  of  a  simple 
folk  tune  in  Chapter  II.  In  the  case  of 
the  best  symphonists  the  principal  and 
second  subjects  disclose  a  contrast,  not 
violent  but  yet  distinct,  in  mood  or 
character.  If  the  first  is  rhythmically 
energetic  and  assertive — masculine,  let 
me  say — the  second  will  be  more  sedate, 
more  gentle  in  utterance — feminine. 
After  the  two  subjects  have  been  in- 
troduced along  with  some  subsidiary 
phrases  and  passages  which  the  com- 
poser uses  to  bind  them  together  and 
modulate  from  one  key  into  another, 
the  entire  division  is  repeated.  That  is 
the  rule,  but  it  is  now  as  often  "hon- 
ored in  the  breach"  as  in  the  observ- 
ance, some  conductors  not  even  hesi- 
tating to  ignore  the  repeat  marks  in 
Beethoven's  scores. 
The  second  division  is  now  taken  up. 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

In  it  the  composer  exploits  his  learn- 
ing and  fancy  in  developing  his  the- 
matic material.  He  is  now  entirely 
free  to  send  it  through  long  chains  of 
keys,  to  vary  the  harmonies,  rhythms, 
and  instrumentation,  to  take  a  single 
pregnant  motive  and  work  it  out  with 
all  the  ingenuity  he  can  muster ;  to  force 
it  up  "  steep-up  spouts  "  of  passion  and 
let  it  whirl  in  the  surge,  or  plunge  it 
into  "  steep-down  gulfs  of  liquid  fire," 
and  consume  its  own  heart.  Techni- 
cally this  part  is  called  the  "  free  fan- 
tasia "  in  English,  and  the  Durch- 
fiihrung — "  working  out " — in  German. 
I  mention  the  terms  because  they  some- 
times occur  in  criticisms  and  analyses. 
It  is  in  this  division  that  the  genius  of 
a  composer  has  fullest  play,  and  there 
is  no  greater  pleasure,  no  more  delight- 
ful excitement,  for  the  symphony-lover 
than  to  follow  the  luminous  fancy  of 
Beethoven  through  his  free  fantasias. 
The  third  division  is  devoted  to  a  repe- 
tition, with  modifications,  of  the  first 
division  and  the  addition  of  a  close. 

First  movements  are  quick  and  ener- 
getic, and  frequently  full   of   dramatic 

CHAP.  V. 

fantasia  or 
"  working- 
out  "  por- 


CHAP.  V. 


Keys  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

fire.  In  them  the  psychological  story 
is  begun  which  is  to  be  developed  in 
the  remaining  chapters  of  the  work — 
its  sorrows,  hopes,  prayers,  or  com- 
munings  in  the  slow  movement ;  its 
madness  or  merriment  in  the  scherzo; 
its  outcome,  triumphant  or  tragic,  in 
the  finale.  Sometimes  the  first  move- 
ment is  preceded  by  a  slow  introduc- 
tion, intended  to  prepare  the  mind  of 
the  listener  for  the  proclamation  which 
shall  come  with  the  Allegro.  The  key 
of  the  principal  subject  is  set  down  as 
the  key  of  the  symphony,  and  unless 
the  composer  gives  his  work  a  special 
title  for  the  purpose  of  providing  a  hint 
as  to  its  poetical  contents  ("  Eroica," 
"  Pastoral,"  "  Faust,"  "  In  the  Forest," 
"Lenore,"  "  Path6tique,"  etc.),  or  to 
characterize  its  style  ("  Scotch,"  "  Ital- 
ian," "Irish,"  "Welsh,"  "Scandina- 
vian," "  From  the  New  World  "),  it  is 
known  only  by  its  key,  or  the  number 
of  the  work  (opus)  in  the  composer's 
list.  Therefore  we  have  Mozart's 
Symphony  "  in  G  minor,"  Beethoven's 
"in  A  major,"  Schumann's  "in  C," 
Brahms's  "  in  F,"  and  so  on. 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

The  second  movement  in  the  sym- 
phonic scheme  is  the  slow  movement. 
Musicians  frequently  call  it  the  Adagio, 
for  convenience,  though  the  tempi  of 
slow  movements  ranges  from  extremely 
slow  (Largo)  to  the  border  line  of  fast,  as 
in  the  case  of  the  Allegretto  of  the  Sev- 
enth Symphony  of  Beethoven.  The 
mood  of  the  slow  movement  is  frequent- 
ly sombre,  and  its  instrumental  coloring 
dark ;  but  it  may  also  be  consolatory, 
contemplative,  restful,  religiously  uplift- 
ing. The  writing  is  preferably  in  a 
broadly  sustained  style,  the  effect  being 
that  of  an  exalted  hymn,  and  this  has 
led  to  a  predilection  for  a  theme  and 
variations  as  the  mould  in  which  to 
cast  the  movement.  The  slow  move- 
ments of  Beethoven's  Fifth  and  Ninth 
Symphonies  are  made  up  of  varia- 

The  Scherzo  is,  as  the  term  implies, 
the  playful,  jocose  movement  of  a  sym- 
phony, but  in  the  case  of  sublime  ge- 
niuses like  Beethoven  and  Schumann, 
who  blend  profound  melancholy  with 
wild  humor,  the  playfulness  is  some- 
times of  a  kind  which  invites  us  to 


CHAP.  V. 

The  second 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

Genesis  of 
the  Scherzo. 

CHAP.  V.  thoughtfulness  instead  of  merriment. 
This  is  true  also  of  some  Russian  com- 
posers, whose  scherzos  have  the  desper- 
ate gayety  which  speaks  from  the  music 
of  a  sad  people  whose  merrymaking  is 
not  a  spontaneous  expression  of  exu- 
berant spirits  but  a  striving  after  self-for- 
getfulness.  The  Scherzo  is  the  successor 
of  the  Minuet,  whose  rhythm  and  form 
served  the  composers  down  to  Beet- 
hoven. It  was  he  who  substituted  the 
Scherzo,  which  retains  the  chief  formal 
characteristics  of  the  courtly  old  dance 
in  being  in  triple  time  and  having  a  sec- 
ond part  called  the  Trio.  With  the 
change  there  came  an  increase  in  speed, 
but  it  ought  to  be  remembered  that  the 
symphonic  minuet  was  quicker  than  the 
dance  of  the  same  name.  A  tendency 
toward  exaggeration,  which  is  patent 
among  modern  conductors,  is  threaten- 
ing to  rob  the  symphonic  minuet  of  the 
vivacity  which  gave  it  its  place  in  the 
scheme  of  the  symphony.  The  entrance 

The  Trio.  of  the  Trio  is  marked  by  the  introduc- 
tion of  a  new  idea  (a  second  minuet) 
which  is  more  sententious  than  the  first 
part,  and  sometimes  in  another  key, 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

the     commonest    change    being    from 
minor  to  major. 

The  final  movement,  technically  the 
Finale,  is  another  piece  of  large  dimen- 
sions in  which  the  psychological  drama 
which  plays  through  the  four  acts  of 
the  symphony  is  brought  to  a  conclu- 
sion. Once  the  purpose  of  the  Finale 
was  but  to  bring  the  symphony  to  a 
merry  end,  but  as  the  expressive  capac- 
ity of  music  has  been  widened,  and  mere 
play  with  aesthetic  forms  has  given  place 
to  attempts  to  convey  sentiments  and 
feelings,  the  purposes  of  the  last  move- 
ment have  been  greatly  extended  and 
varied.  As  a  rule  the  form  chosen  for 
the  Finale  is  that  called  the  Rondo. 
Borrowed  from  an  artificial  verse-form 
(the  French  Rondeaii),  this  species  of 
composition  illustrates  the  peculiarity 
of  that  form  in  the  reiteration  of  a 
strophe  ever  and  anon  after  a  new 
theme  or  episode  has  been  exploited. 
In  modern  society  verse,  which  has 
grown  out  of  an  ambition  to  imitate 
the  ingenious  form  invented  by  me- 
diaeval poets,  we  have  the  Triolet,  which 
may  be  said  to  be  a  rondeau  in  minia- 

CHAP.  V. 

The  Finale. 



CHAP.  V. 

A  Rondo 
pattern  in 

forms  for 
the  Finale. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

ture.  I  choose  one  of  Mr.  H.  C.  Bun- 
ner's  dainty  creations  to  illustrate  the 
musical  refrain  characteristic  of  the 
rondo  form  because  of  its  compactness. 
Here  it  is : 

"  A  pitcher  of  mignonette 

In  a  tenement's  highest  casement : 
Queer  sort  of  a  flower-pot — yet 

That  pitcher  of  mignonette 
Is  a  garden  in  heaven  set, 

To  the  little  sick  child  in  the  basement — 
The  pitcher  of  mignonette, 

In  the  tenement's  highest  casement." 

If  now  the  first  two  lines  of  this  poem, 
which  compose  its  refrain,  be  permitted 
to  stand  as  the  principal  theme  of  a  mu- 
sical piece,  we  have  in  Mr.  Bunner's 
triolet  a  rondo  in  nuce.  There  is  in  It  a 
threefold  exposition  of  the  theme  alter- 
nating with  episodic  matter.  Another 
form  for  the  finale  is  that  of  the  first 
movement  (the  Sonata  form),  and  still 
another,  the  theme  and  variations.  Beet- 
hoven chose  the  latter  for  his  "  Ero- 
ica,"  and  the  choral  close  of  his  Ninth, 
Dvorak,  for  his  symphony  in  G  major, 
and  Brahms  for  his  in  E  minor. 

I  am  attempting  nothing  more  than  a 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

characterization  of  the  symphony,  and 
the  forms  with  which  I  associated  it  at 
the  outset,  which  shall  help  the  un- 
trained listener  to  comprehend  them  as 
unities  despite  the  fact  that  to  the  care- 
less hearer  they  present  themselves  as 
groups  of  pieces  each  one  of  which  is 
complete  in  itself  and  has  no  connec- 
tion with  its  fellows.  The  desire  of 
composers  to  have  their  symphonies  ac- 
cepted as  unities  instead  of  compages 
of  unrelated  pieces  has  led  to  the  adop- 
tion of  various  devices  designed  to 
force  the  bond  of  union  upon  the  atten- 
tion of  the  hearer.  Thus  Beethoven  in 
his  symphony  in  C  minor  not  only 
connects  the  third  and  fourth  move- 
ments but  also  introduces  a  reminis- 
cence of  the  former  into  the  midst  of 
the  latter ;  Berlioz  in  his  "  Symphonic 
Fantastique,"  which  is  written  to  what 
may  be  called  a  dramatic  scheme,  makes 
use  of  a  melody  which  he  calls  "  Vidte 
fixe!'  and  has  it  recur  in  each  of  the 
four  movements  as  an  episode.  This, 
however,  is  frankly  a  symphony  with 
programme,  and  ought  not  to  be  treated 
as  a  modification  of  the  pure  form. 


CHAP.  V. 


How  en- 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 

CHAP.  V. 

lation of 

tion of 

Dvorak  in  his  symphony  entitled  "  From 
the  New  World,"  in  which  he  has  striven 
to  give  expression  to  the  American 
spirit,  quotes  the  first  period  of  his 
principal  subject  in  all  the  subsequent 
movements,  and  then  sententiously  re- 
capitulates the  principal  themes  of  the 
first,  second,  and  third  movements  in 
the  finale ;  and  this  without  a  sign  of 
the  dramatic  purpose  confessed  by  Ber- 

In  the  last  movement  of  his  Ninth 
Symphony  Beethoven  calls  voices  to  the 
aid  of  his  instruments.  It  was  a  daring 
innovation,  as  it  seemed  to  disrupt  the 
form,  and  we  know  from  the  story  of 
the  work  how  long  he  hunted  for  the 
connecting  link,  which  finally  he  found 
in  the  instrumental  recitative.  Having 
hit  upon  the  device,  he  summons  each 
of  the  preceding  movements,  which  are 
purely  instrumental,  into  the  presence 
of  his  augmented  forces  and  dismisses 
it  as  inadequate  to  the  proclamation 
which  the  symphony  was  to  make. 
The  double-basses  and  solo  barytone 
are  the  spokesmen  for  the  tuneful  host. 
He  thus  achieves  the  end  of  connecting 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

the  Allegro,  Scherzo,  and  Adagio  with 
each  other,  and  all  with  the  Finale,  and 
at  the  same  time  points  out  what  it  is 
that  he  wishes  us  to  recognize  as  the  in- 
spiration of  the  whole  ;  but  here,  again, 
the  means  appear  to  be  somewhat  ex- 
traneous. Schumann's  example,  how- 
ever, in  abolishing  the  pauses  between 
the  movements  of  the  symphony  in  D 
minor,  and  having  melodic  material 
common  to  all  the  movements,  is  a  plea 
for  appreciation  which  cannot  be  mis- 
understood. Before  Schumann  Men- 
delssohn intended  that  his  "Scotch" 
symphony  should  be  performed  with- 
out pauses  between  the  movements,  but 
his  wishes  have  been  ignored  by  the 
conductors,  I  fancy  because  he  having 
neglected  to  knit  the  movements  to- 
gether by  community  of  ideas,  they 
can  see  no  valid  reason  for  the  aboli- 
tion of  the  conventional  resting-places. 

Beethoven's  augmentation  of  the 
symphonic  forces  by  employing  voices 
has  been  followed  by  Berlioz  in  his 
"  Romeo  and  Juliet,"  which,  though 
called  a  "dramatic  symphony,"  is  a 
mixture  of  symphony,  cantata,  and 

CHAP.  V. 

of  pauses. 

"  choral" 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

CHAP.  V. 

Increase  in. 
the  number 
of  move- 

opera;  Mendelssohn  in  his  "Hymn  of 
Praise "  (which  is  also  a  composite 
work  and  has  a  composite  title — "  Sym- 
phony Cantata "),  and  Liszt  in  his 
"Faust"  symphony,  in  the  finale  of 
which  we  meet  a  solo  tenor  and  chorus 
of  men's  voices  who  sing  Goethe's  Cho- 
rus mysticus. 

A  number  of  other  experiments  have 
been  made,  the  effectiveness  of  which 
has  been  conceded  in  individual  in- 
stances, but  which  have  failed  perma- 
nently to  affect  the  symphonic  form. 
Schumann  has  two  trios  in  his  sym- 
phony in  B-flat,  and  his  E-flat,  the  so- 
called  "  Rhenish,"  has  five  movements 
instead  of  four,  there  being  two  slow 
movements,  one  in  moderate  tempo 
(Nicht  schnell),  and  the  other  in  slow 
(Feierlick).  In  this  symphony,  also, 
Schumann  exercises  the  license  which 
has  been  recognized  since  Beethoven's 
time,  of  changing  the  places  in  the 
scheme  of  the  second  and  third  move- 
ments, giving  the  second  place  to  the 
jocose  division  instead  of  the  slow. 
Beethoven's  "  Pastoral "  has  also  five 
movements,  unless  one  chooses  to  take 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

the  storm  which  interrupts  the  "  Merry- 
making of  the  Country  Folk  "  as  stand- 
ing toward  the  last  movement  as  an  in- 
troduction, as,  indeed,  it  does  in  the 
composer's  idyllic  scheme.  Certain  it 
is,  Sir  George  Grove  to  the  contrary 
notwithstanding,  that  the  sense  of  a 
disturbance  of  the  symphonic  plan  is 
not  so  vivid  at  a  performance  of  the 
"Pastoral"  as  at  one  of  Schumann's 
"  Rhenish,  "  in  which  either  the  third 
movement  or  the  so-called  "  Cathedral 
Scene  "  is  most  distinctly  an  interloper. 
Usually  it  is  deference  to  the  demands 
of  a  "  programme  "  that  influences  com- 
posers in  extending  the  formal  boun- 
daries of  a  symphony,  and  when  this  is 
done  the  result  is  frequently  a  work 
which  can  only  be  called  a  symphony 
by  courtesy.  M.  Saint-Saens,  however, 
attempted  an  original  excursion  in  his 
symphony  in  C  minor,  without  any  dis- 
coverable, or  at  least  confessed,  pro- 
grammatic idea.  He  laid  the  work  out 
in  two  grand  divisions,  so  as  to  have 
but  one  pause.  Nevertheless  in  each 
division  we  can  recognize,  though  as 
through  a  haze,  the  outlines  of  the  fa- 


CHAP.  V. 

of  bound- 


CHAP.  V. 

Saens's  C 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

miliar  symphonic  movements.  In  the 
first  part,  buried  under  a  sequence  of 
time  designations  like  this:  Adagio — 
Allegro  moderate — Poco  adagio,  we  dis- 
cover the  customary  first  and  second 
movements,  the  former  preceded  by  a 
slow  introduction ;  in  the  second  divis- 
ion we  find  this  arrangement:  Allegro 
moderato  —  Presto  —  Maestoso  —  Allegro, 
this  multiplicity  of  terms  affording  only 
a  sort  of  disguise  for  the  regulation 
scherzo  and  finale,  with  a  cropping  out 
of  reminiscences  from  the  first  part 
which  have  the  obvious  purpose  to  im- 
press upon  the  hearer  that  the  sym- 
phony is  an  organic  whole.  M.  Saint- 
Saens  has  also  introduced  the  organ 
and  a  pianoforte  with  two  players  into 
the  instrumental  apparatus. 

Three  characteristics  may  be  said  to 
distinguish  the  Symphonic  Poem,  which 
in  the  view  of  the  extremists  who  fol- 
low the  lead  of  Liszt  is  the  logical  out- 
come of  the  symphony  and  the  only 
expression  of  its  aesthetic  principles 
consonant  with  modern  thought  and 
feeling.  First,  it  is  programmatic — 
that  is,  it  is  based  upon  a  poetical  idea, 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

a  sequence  of  incidents,  or  of  soul- 
states,  to  which  a  clew  is  given  either 
by  the  title  or  a  motto  ;  second,  it  is 
compacted  in  form  to  a  single  move- 
ment, though  as  a  rule  the  changing 
phases  delineated  in  the  separate  move- 
ments of  the  symphony  are  also  to  be 
found  in  the  divisions  of  the  work 
marked  by  changes  in  tempo,  key,  and 
character ;  third,  the  work  generally 
has  a  principal  subject  of  such  plas- 
ticity that  the  composer  can  body 
forth  a  varied  content  by  presenting  it 
in  a  number  of  transformations. 

The  last  two  characteristics  Liszt  has 
carried  over  into  his  pianoforte  con- 
certo in  E-flat  This  has  four  distinct 
movements  (viz.:  I.  Allegro  maestoso; 
II.  Quasi  adagio ;  III.  Allegretto  vivace, 
sckerzando  ;  IV.  Allegro  marziale  anima- 
fo\  but  they  are  fused  into  a  continuous 
whole,  throughout  which  the  principal 
thought  of  the  work,  the  stupendously 
energetic  phrase  which  the  orchestra 
proclaims  at  the  outset,  is  presented  in 
various  forms  to  make  it  express  a  great 
variety  of  moods  and  yet  give  unity  to 
the  concerto.  "  Thus,  by  means  of  this 


CHAP.  V. 

Its  charac- 

first  piano- 
forte con- 


CHAP.  V. 





*>td  orches- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

metamorphosis,"  says  Mr.  Edward  Dann- 
reuther,  "  the  poetic  unity  of  the  whole 
musical  tissue  is  made  apparent,  spite 
of  very  great  diversity  of  details ;  and 
Coleridge's  attempt  at  a  definition  of 
poetic  unity — unity  in  multiety — is  car- 
ried out  to  the  letter." 

It  will  readily  be  understood  that  the 
other  cyclical  compositions  which  I  have 
associated  with  a  classic  concert,  that  is, 
compositions  belonging  to  the  category 
of  chamber  music  (see  Chapter  III.), 
and  concertos  for  solo  instruments  with 
orchestral  accompaniment,  while  con- 
forming to  che  scheme  which  I  have 
outlined,  all  have  individual  character- 
istics conditioned  on  the  expressive  ca- 
pacity of  the  apparatus.  The  modern 
pianoforte  is  capable  of  asserting  itself 
against  a  full  orchestra,  and  concertos 
have  been  written  for  it  in  which  it  is 
treated  as  an  orchestral  integer  rather 
than  a  solo  instrument.  In  the  older 
conception,  the  orchestra,  though  it 
frequently  assumed  the  privilege  of  in- 
troducing  the  subject-matter,  played  a 
subordinate  part  to  the  solo  instrument 
in  its  development.  In  violin  as  well  as 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

pianoforte  concertos  special  opportu- 
nity is  given  to  the  player  to  exploit  his 
skill  and  display  the  solo  instrument 
free  from  structural  restrictions  in  the 
cadenza  introduced  shortly  before  the 
close  of  the  first,  last,  or  both  move- 

Cadenzas  are  a  relic  of  a  time  when 
the  art  of  improvisation  was  more 
generally  practised  than  it  is  now,  and 
when  performers  were  conceded  to 
have  rights  beyond  the  printed  page. 
Solely  for  their  display,  it  became  cus- 
tomary for  composers  to  indicate  by  a 
hold  (/c\)  a  place  where  the  perform- 
er might  indulge  in  a  flourish  of  his 
own.  There  is  a  tradition  that  Mo- 
zart once  remarked :  "  Wherever  I 
smear  that  thing,"  indicating  a  hold, 
"you  can  do  what  you  please;"  the 
rule  is,  however,  that  the  only  priv- 
ilege which  the  cadenza  opens  to  the 
player  is  that  of  improvising  on  mate- 
rial drawn  from  the  subjects  already 
developed,  and  since,  also  as  a  rule, 
composers  are  generally  more  eloquent 
in  the  treatment  of  their  own  ideas  than 
performers,  it  is  seldom  that  a  cadenza 

CHAP.  V. 


tions by  the 


CHAP.  V. 

M.  Ysaye's 
opinion  of 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

contributes  to  the  enjoyment  afforded 
by  a  work,  except  to  the  lovers  of  tech- 
nique for  technique's  sake.  I  never 
knew  an  artist  to  make  a  more  sensible 
remark  than  did  M.  Ysaye,  when  on  the 
eve  of  a  memorably  beautiful  perform- 
ance of  Beethoven's  violin  concerto,  he 
said:  "If  I  were  permitted  to  consult 
my  own  wishes  I  would  put  my  violin 
under  my  arm  when  I  reach  \hefermate 
and  say :  '  Ladies  and  gentlemen,  we 
have  reached  the  cadenza.  It  is  pre- 
sumptuous in  any  musician  to  think  that 
he  can  have  anything  to  say  after 
Beethoven  has  finished.  With-  your 
permission  we  will  consider  my  cadenza 
played.' "  That  Beethoven  may  him- 
self have  had  a  thought  of  the  same 
nature  is  a  fair  inference  from  the  cir- 
cumstance that  he  refused  to  leave  the 
cadenza  in  his  E-flat  pianoforte  con- 
certo to  the  mercy  of  the  virtuosos  but 
wrote  it  himself. 

Concertos  for  pianoforte  or  violin  are 
usually  written  in  three  movements,  of 
which  the  first  and  last  follow  the  sym- 
phonic model  in  respect  of  elaboration 
and  form,  and  the  second  is  a  brief  move- 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

ment  in  slow  or  moderate  time,  which 
has  the  character  of  an  intermezzo.  As 
to  the  nomenclature  of  chamber  music,  it 
is  to  be  noted  that  unless  connected  with 
a  qualifying  word  or  phrase,  "  Quartet  " 
means  a  string-  quartet.  When  a  piano- 
forte is  consorted  with  strings  the  work 
is  spoken  of  as  a  Pianoforte  Trio,  Quar- 
tet, or  Quintet,  as  the  case  may  be. 

The  form  of  the  overture  is  that  of  the 
first  movement  of  the  sonata,  or  sym- 
phony, omitting  the  repetition  of  the 
first  subdivision.  Since  the  original  pur- 
pose, which  gave  the  overture  its  name 
(Ouverture  =  aperture,  opening),  was  to 
introduce  a  drama,  either  spoken  or 
lyrical,  an  oratorio,  or  other  choral 
composition,  it  became  customary  for 
the  composers  to  choose  the  subjects  of 
the  piece  from  the  climacteric  moments 
of  the  music  used  in  the  drama.  When 
done  without  regard  to  the  rules  of  con- 
struction (as  is  the  case  with  practically 
all  operetta  overtures  and  Rossini's)  the 
result  is  not  an  overture  at  all,  but  a  pot- 
pourri, a  hotch-potch  of  jingles.  The 
present  beautiful  form,  in  which  Beet- 
hoven and  other  composers  have  shown 




The  Over- 



CHAP.  V. 

Old  styles 
of  over- 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 

that  it  is  possible  to  epitomize  an  entire 
drama,  took  the  place  of  an  arbitrary 
scheme  which  was  wholly  aimless,  so  far 
as  the  compositions  to  which  they  were 
attached  were  concerned. 

The  earliest  fixed  form  of  the  over- 
ture is  preserved  to  the  current  lists  of 
to-day  by  the  compositions  of  Bach  and 
Handel.  It  is  that  established  by  Lully, 
and  is  tripartite  in  form,  consisting  of  a 
rapid  movement,  generally  a  fugue,  pre- 
ceded and  followed  by  a  slow  movement 
which  is  grave  and  stately  in  its  tread.  In 
its  latest  phase  the  overture  has  yielded 
up  its  name  in  favor  of  Prelude  (Ger- 
man, Vorspiel),  Introduction,  or  Sym- 
phonic Prologue.  The  finest  of  these, 
without  borrowing  their  themes  from 
the  works  which  they  introduce,  but 
using  new  matter  entirely,  seek  to  fulfil 
the  aim  which  Gluck  set  for  himself, 
when,  in  the  preface  to  "Alceste,"  he 
wrote :  "  I  imagined  that  the  overture 
ought  to  prepare  the  audience  for  the 
action  of  the  piece,  and  serve  as  a  kind 
of  argument  to  it."  Concert  overtures 
are  compositions  designed  by  the  com- 
posers to  stand  as  independent  pieces  in- 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

stead  of  for  performance  in  connection 
with  a  drama,  opera,  or  oratorio.  When, 
as  is  frequently  the  case,  the  composer, 
nevertheless,  gives  them  a  descriptive 
title  ("Hebrides,"  "  Sakuntala  "),  their 
poetical  contents  are  to  be  sought  in 
the  associations  aroused  by  the  title. 
Thus,  in  the  instances  cited,  "  Heb- 
rides "  suggests  that  the  overture  was 
designed  by  Mendelssohn  to  reflect  the 
mood  awakened  in  him  by  a  visit  to  the 
Hebrides,  more  particularly  to  Fingal's 
Cave  (wherefore  the  overture  is  called 
the  "  Fingal's  Cave"  overture  in  Ger- 
many)— "  Sakuntala  "  invites  to  a  study 
of  Kalidasa's  drama  of  that  name  as 
the  repository  of  the  sentiments  which 
Goldmark  undertook  to  express  in  his 

A  form  which  is  variously  employed, 
for  solo  instruments,  small  combina- 
tions, and  full  orchestra  (though  seldom 
with  the  complete  modern  apparatus), 
is  the  Serenade.  Historically,  it  is  a 
contemporary  ol  the  old  suites  and 
the  first  symphonies,  and  like  them  it 
consists  of  a  group  of  short  pieces,  so 
arranged  as  to  form  an  agreeable  con- 


CHAP.  V. 

tive titles. 



CHAP.  V. 

The  Ser- 
enade in 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

trast  with  each  other,  and  yet  convey  a 
sense  of  organic  unity.  The  character 
of  the  various  parts  and  their  order 
grew  out  of  the  purpose  for  which  the 
serenade  was  originated,  which  was 
that  indicated  by  the  name.  In  the  last 
century,  and  earlier,  it  was  no  uncom- 
mon thing  for  a  lover  to  bring  the 
tribute  of  a  musical  performance  to  his 
mistress,  and  it  was  not  always  a 
"  woful  ballad "  sung  to  her  eyebrow. 
Frequently  musicians  were  hired,  and 
the  tribute  took  the  form  of  a  nocturnal 
concert.  In  Shakespeare's  "  Two  Gen- 
tlemen of  Verona,"  Proteus,  prompting 
Thurio  what  to  do  to  win  Silvias  love, 

44  Visit  by  night  your  lady's  chamber  window 
With  some  sweet  concert :  to  their  instruments 
Tune  a  deploring  dump ;  the  night's  dread  silence 
Will  well  become  such  sweet  complaining  griev- 

It  was  for  such  purposes  that  the 
serenade  was  invented  as  an  instru- 
mental form.  Since  they  were  to  play 
out  of  doors,  Sir  Thurio 's  musicians 
would  have  used  wind  instruments  in- 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

stead  of  viols,  and  the  oldest  serenades 
are  composed  for  oboes  and  bassoons. 
Clarinets  and  horns  were  subsequently 
added,  and  for  such  bands  Mozart  wrote 
serenades,  some  of  which  so  closely 
approach  the  symphony  that  they  have 
been  published  as  symphonies.  A  ser- 
enade in  the  olden  time  opened  very 
properly  with  a  march,  to  the  strains  of 
which  we  may  imagine  the  musicians 
approaching  the  lady's  chamber  win- 
dow. Then  came  a  minuet  to  prepare 
her  ear  for  the  "  deploring  dump " 
which  followed,  the  "  dump  "  of  Shake- 
speare's day,  like  the  "  dumka"  of  ours 
(with  which  I  am  tempted  to  associate 
it  etymologically),  being  a  mournful 
piece  of  music  most  happily  character- 
ized by  the  poet  as  a  "  sweet  complain- 
ing grievance."  Then  followed  another 
piece  in  merry  tempo  and  rhythm,  then 
a  second  adagio,  and  the  entertainment 
ended  with  an  allegro,  generally  in  march 
rhythm,  to  which  we  fancy  the  musicians 
departing.  The  order  is  exemplified  in 
Beethoven's  serenade  for  violin,  viola, 
and  violoncello,  op.  8,  which  runs  thus  : 
March;  Adagio ;  Minuet ;  Adagio  with 

CHAP.  V. 







CHAP.  V. 





How  to  Listen  to  Music 

episodic  Scherzo ;  Polacca;  Andante  (va- 
riations), the  opening  march  repeated. 

The  Suite  has  come  back  into  favor 
as  an  orchestral  piece,  but  the  term  no 
longer  has  the  fixed  significance  which 
once  it  had.  It  is  now  applied  to  al- 
most any  group  of  short  pieces,  pleas- 
antly contrasted  in  rhythm,  tempo,  and 
mood,  each  complete  in  itself  yet  dis- 
closing an  aesthetic  relationship  with  its 
fellows.  Sometimes  old  dance  forms 
are  used,  and  sometimes  new,  such  as 
the  polonaise  and  the  waltz.  The  bal- 
let music,  which  fills  so  welcome  a  place 
in  popular  programmes,  may  be  looked 
upon  as  such  a  suite,  and  the  rhythm 
of  the  music  and  the  orchestral  coloring 
in  them  are  frequently  those  peculiar  to 
the  dances  of  the  countries  in  which  the 
story  of  the  opera  or  drama  for  which 
the  music  was  written  plays.  The  bal- 
lets therefore  afford  an  excellent  oppor- 
tunity for  the  study  of  local  color.  Thus 
the  ballet  music  from  Massenet's  "  Cid  " 
is  Spanish,  from  Rubinstein's  "  Fera- 
mors  "  Oriental,  from  "  Aida  "  Egyptian 
— Oriental  rhythms  and  colorings  being 
those  most  easily  copied  by  composers. 

At  an  Orchestral  Concert 

The  other  operatic  excerpts  common 
to  concerts  of  both  classes  are  either  be- 
tween-acts  music,  fantasias  on  operatic 
airs,  or,  in  the  case  of  Wagner's  contribu- 
tions, portions  of  his  dramas  which  are  so 
predominantly  instrumental  that  it  has 
been  found  feasible  to  incorporate  the 
vocal  part  with  the  orchestral.  In  ballet 
music  from  the  operas  of  the  last  century, 
some  of  which  has  been  preserved  to  the 
modern  concert-room,  local  color  must 
not  be  sought.  Gluck's  Greeks,  like 
Shakespeare's,  danced  to  the  rhythms  of 
the  seventeenth  century.  Vestris,  whom 
the  people  of  his  time  called  "  The  god  of 
the  dance,"  once  complained  to  Gluck 
that  his  "  Iphig6nie  en  Aulide  "  did  not 
end  with  a  chaconne,  as  was  the  rule. 
"  A  chaconne  !  "  cried  Gluck  ;  "  when 
did  the  Greeks  ever  dance  a  chaconne?" 
"  Didn't  they?  Didn't  they  ?  "  answered 
Vestris ;  "  so  much  the  worse  for  the 
Greeks. "  There  ensued  a  quarrel. 
Gluck  became  incensed,  withdrew  the 
opera  which  was  about  to  be  produced, 
and  would  have  left  Paris  had  not  Marie 
Antoinette  come  to  the  rescue.  But 
Vestris  got  his  chaconne. 

CHAP.  V. 


Gluck  and 



At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

\    Mr.  Pade- 
\    rewski's 
i    concerts. 

NO  clearer  illustration  of  the  magi- 
cal power  which  lies  in  music, 
no  more  convincing  proof  of  the  puis- 
sant fascination  which  a  musical  artist 
can  exert,  no  greater  demonstration  of 
the  capabilities  of  an  instrument  of 
music  can  be  imagined  than  was  af- 
forded by  the  pianoforte  recitals  which 
Mr.  Paderewski  gave  in  the  United 
States  during  the  season  of  1895-96. 
More  than  threescore  times  in  the 
course  of  five  months,  in  the  principal 
cities  of  this  country,  did  this  wonder- 
ful man  seat  himself  in  the  presence  of 
audiences,  whose  numbers  ran  into  the 
thousands,  and  were  limited  only  by 
the  seating  capacity  of  the  rooms  in 
which  they  gathered,  and  hold  them 
spellbound  from  two  to  three  hours  by 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

the  eloquence  of  his  playing.  Each 
time  the  people  came  in  a  gladsome 
frame  of  mind,  stimulated  by  the  recol- 
lection of  previous  delights  or  eager 
expectation.  Each  time  they  sat  listen- 
ing to  the  music  as  if  it  were  an  evangel 
on  which  hung  everlasting  things. 
Each  time  there  was  the  same  growth 
in  enthusiasm  which  began  in  deco- 
rous applause  and  ended  in  cheers  and 
shouts  as  the  artist  came  back  after  the 
performance  of  a  herculean  task,  and 
added  piece  after  piece  to  a  programme 
which  had  been  laid  down  on  generous 
lines  from  the  beginning.  The  careless 
saw  the  spectacle  with  simple  amaze- 
ment, but  for  the  judicious  it  had  a 
wondrous  interest. 

I  am  not  now  concerned  with  Mr. 
Paderewski  beyond  invoking  his  aid  in 
bringing  into  court  a  form  of  entertain- 
ment which,  in  his  hands,  has  proved  to 
be  more  attractive  to  the  multitude  than 
symphony,  oratorio,  and  even  opera. 
What  a  world  of  speculation  and  curi- 
ous inquiry  does  such  a  recital  invite 
one  into,  beginning  with  the  instrument 
which  was  the  medium  of  communica- 






The  piano- 
forte s  un- 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tion  between  the  artist  and  his  hearers ! 
To  follow  the  progressive  development 
of  the  mechanical  principles  underlying 
the  pianoforte,  one  would  be  obliged  to 
begin  beyond  the  veil  which  separates 
history  from  tradition,  for  the  first  of 
them  finds  its  earliest  exemplification 
in  the  bow  twanged  by  the  primitive 
savage.  Since  a  recognition  of  these 
principles  may  help  to  an  understand- 
ing of  the  art.  of  pianoforte  playing,  I 
enumerate  them  now.  They  are  : 

1.  A  stretched  string  as  a  medium  of 
tone  production. 

2.  A  key-board  as  an  agency  for  ma- 
nipulating the  strings. 

3.  A   blow  as  the  means  of  exciting 
the  strings  to  vibratory  action,  by  which 
the  tone  is  produced. 

Many  interesting  glimpses  of  the 
human  mind  and  heart  might  we  have 
in  the  course  of  the  promenade  through 
the  ancient,  mediaeval,  and  modern 
worlds  which  would  be  necessary  to 
disclose  the  origin  and  growth  of  these 
three  principles,  but  these  we  must  fore- 
go, since  we  are  to  study  the  music  of 
the  instrument,  not  its  history.  Let  the 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

knowledge  suffice  that  the  fundamental 
principle  of  the  pianoforte  is  as  old  as 
music  itself,  and  that  scientific  learning, 
inventive  ingenuity,  and  mechanical 
skill,  tributary  always  to  the  genius  of 
the  art,  have  worked  together  for  cen- 
turies to  apply  this  principle,  until  the 
instrument  which  embodies  it  in  its 
highest  potency  is  become  a  veritable 
microcosm  of  music.  It  is  the  visible 
sign  of  culture  in  every  gentle  house- 
hold; the  indispensable  companion  of 
the  composer  and  teacher;  the  in- 
termediary between  all  the  various 
branches  of  music.  Into  the  study  of  the 
orchestral  conductor  it  brings  a  trans- 
lation of  all  -the  multitudinous  voices 
of  the  band ;  to  the  choir-master  it  rep- 
resents the  chorus  of  singers  in  the 
church-loft  or  on  the  concert-platform ; 
with  its  aid  the  opera  director  fills  his 
imagination  with  the  people,  passions, 
and  pageantry  of  the  lyric  drama  long 
before  the  singers  have  received  their 
parts,  or  the  costumer,  stage  manager, 
and  scene  -  painter  have  begun  their 
work.  It  is  the  only  medium  through 
which  the  musician  in  his  study  can 


cance of  the 



of  the 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

commune  with  the  whole  world  of  music 
and  all  its  heroes ;  and  though  it  may 
fail  to  inspire  somewhat  of  that  sym- 
pathetic nearness  which  one  feels  tow- 
ard the  violin  as  it  nestles  under  the 
chin  and  throbs  synchronously  with  the 
player's  emotions,  or  those  wind  instru- 
ments into  which  the  player  breathes 
his  own  breath  as  the  breath  of  life,  it 
surpasses  all  its  rivals,  save  the  organ, 
in  its  capacity  for  publishing  the  grand 
harmonies  of  the  masters,  for  uttering 
their  "  sevenfold  chorus  of  hallelujahs 
and  harping  symphonies/' 

This  is  one  side  of  the  picture  and 
serves  to  show  why  the  pianoforte  is  the 
most  universal,  useful,  and  necessary  of 
all  musical  instruments.  The  other  side 
shows  its  deficiencies,  which  must  also 
be  known  if  one  is  to  appreciate  right- 
ly the  many  things  he  is  called  upon 
to  note  while  listening  intelligently  to 
pianoforte  music.  Despite  all  the  skill, 
learning,  and  ingenuity  which  have  been 
spent  on  its  perfection,  the  pianoforte 
can  be  made  only  feebly  to  approximate 
that  sustained  style  of  musical  utterance 
which  is  the  soul  of  melody,  and  finds 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 


its  loftiest  exemplification  in  singing. 
To  give  out  a  melody  perfectly,  presup- 
poses the  capacity  to  sustain  tones  with- 
out loss  in  power  or  quality,  to  bind 
them  together  at  will,  and  sometimes  to 
intensify  their  dynamic  or  expressive 
force  while  they  sound.  The  tone  of 
the  pianoforte,  being  produced  by  a 
blow,  begins  to  die  the  moment  it  is  cre- 
ated. The  history  of  the  instrument's 
mechanism,  and  also  of  its  technical 
manipulation,  is  the  history  of  an  effort 
to  reduce  this  shortcoming  to  a  mini- 
mum. It  has  always  conditioned  the 
character  of  the  music  composed  for 
the  instrument,  and  if  we  were  not  in 
danger  of  being  led  into  too  wide  an 
excursion,  it  would  be  profitable  to 
trace  the  parallelism  which  is  disclosed 
by  the  mechanical  evolution  of  the  in- 
strument, and  the  technical  and  spirit- 
ual evolution  of  the  music  composed 
for  it.  A  few  points  will  be  touched 
upon  presently,  when  the  intellectual 
activity  invited  by  a  recital  is  brought 
under  consideration. 

It  is  to  be  noted,  further,  that  by  a 
beautiful  application  of  the  doctrine  of 


Lack  of 








with  drum- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

compensations,  the  factor  which  limits 
the  capacity  of  the  pianoforte  as  a  mel- 
ody instrument  endows  it  with  a  merit 
which  no  other  instrument  has  in  the 
same  degree,  except  the  instruments  of 
percussion,  which,  despite  their  useful- 
ness, stand  on  the  border  line  between 
savage  and  civilized  music.  It  is  from 
its  relationship  to  the  drum  that  the 
pianoforte  derives  a  peculiarity  quite 
unique  in  the  melodic  and  harmonic 
family.  Rhythm  is,  after  all,  the  start- 
ing-point of  music.  More  than  melody, 
more  than  harmony,  it  stirs  the  blood 
of  the  savage,  and  since  the  most  vital 
forces  within  man  are  those  which  date 
back  to  his  primitive  state,  so  the  sense 
of  rhythm  is  the  most  universal  of  the 
musical  senses  among  even  the  most 
cultured  of  peoples  to-day.  By  them- 
selves the  drums,  triangles,  and  cym- 
bals of  an  orchestra  represent  music  but 
one  remove  from  noise ;  but  everybody 
knows  how  marvellously  they  can  be 
utilized  to  glorify  a  climax.  Now,  in 
a  very  refined  degree,  every  melody 
on  the  pianoforte,  be  it  played  as  deli- 
cately as  it  may,  is  a  melody  with  drum- 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

beats.  Manufacturers  have  done  much 
toward  eliminating  the  thump  of  the 
hammers  against  the  strings,  and  famil- 
iarity with  the  tone  of  the  instrument 
has  closed  our  ears  against  it  to  a  great 
extent  as  something  intrusive,  but  the 
blow  which  excites  the  string  to  vibra- 
tion, and  thus  generates  sound,  is  yet  a 
vital  factor  in  determining  the  character 
of  pianoforte  music.  The  recurrent 
pulsations,  now  energetic,  incisive,  reso- 
lute, now  gentle  and  caressing,  infuse 
life  into  the  melody,  and  by  emphasizing 
its  rhythmical  structure  (without  un- 
duly exaggerating  it),  present  the  form 
of  the  melody  in  much  sharper  outline 
than  is  possible  on  any  other  instru- 
ment, and  much  more  than  one  would 
expect  in  view  of  the  evanescent  char- 
acter of  the  pianoforte's  tone.  It  is  this 
quality,  combined  with  the  mechanism 
which  places  all  the  gradations  of  tone, 
from  loudest  to  softest,  at  the  easy  and 
instantaneous  command  of  the  player, 
which,  I  fancy,  makes  the  pianoforte, 
in  an  astonishing  degree,  a  substitute 
for  all  the  other  instruments.  Each  in- 
strument in  the  orchestra  has  an  idiom, 


cal accent- 

A  univer- 
sal substi- 



TTie  in- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

which  "sounds  incomprehensible  when 
uttered  by  some  other  of  its  fellows,  but 
they  can  all  be  translated,  with  more  or 
less  success,  into  the  language  of  the 
pianoforte — not  the  quality  of  the  tone, 
though  even  that  can  be  suggested,  but 
the  character  of  the  phrase.  The  pi- 
anoforte can  sentimentalize  like  the 
flute,  make  a  martial  proclamation  like 
the  trumpet,  intone  a  prayer  like  the 
churchly  trombone. 

In  the  intricacy  of  its  mechanism  the 
pianoforte  stands  next  to  the  organ. 
The  farther  removed  from  direct  utter- 
ance we  are  the  more  difficult  is  it  to 
speak  the  true  language  of  music.  The 
violin  player  and  the  singer,  and  in  a 
less  degree  the  performers  upon  some 
of  the  wind  instruments,  are  obliged  to 
form  the  musical  tone — which,  in  the 
case  of  the  pianist,  is  latent  in  the  instru- 
ment, ready  to  present  itself  in  two  of 
its  attributes  in  answer  to  a  simple 
pressure  upon  the  key.  The  most  un- 
musical person  in  the  world  can  learn  to 
produce  a  series  of  tones  from  a  piano- 
forte which  shall  be  as  exact  in  pitch 
and  as  varied  in  dynamic  force  as  can 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

Mr.  Paderewski.  He  cannot  combine 
them  so  ingeniously  nor  imbue  them 
with  feeling,  but  in  the  simple  matter  of 
producing  the  tone  with  the  attributes 
mentioned,  he  is  on  a  level  with  the 
greatest  virtuoso.  Very  different  is  the 
case  of  the  musician  who  must  exercise 
a  distinctly  musical  gift  in  the  simple 
evocation  of  the  materials  of  music,  like 
the  violinist  and  singer,  who  both  form 
and  produce  the  tone.  For  them  com- 
pensation flows  from  the  circumstance 
that  the  tone  thus  formed  and  produced 
is  naturally  instinct  with  emotional  life 
in  a  degree  that  the  pianoforte  tone 
knows  nothing  of. 

In  one  respect,  it  may  be  said  that 
the  mechanics  of  pianoforte  playing 
represent  a  low  plane  of  artistic  ac- 
tivity, a  fact  which  ought  always  to  be 
remembered  whenever  the  temptation  is 
felt  greatly  to  exalt  the  technique  of  the 
art ;  but  it  must  also  be  borne  in  mind 
that  the  mechanical  nature  of  simple 
tone  production  in  pianoforte  playing 
raises  the  value  of  the  emotional  qual- 
ity which,  nevertheless,  stands  at  the 
command  of  the  player.  The  emotional 



Tone  for- 
mation and 




Touch  and 

The  tech- 
nical cult. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

potency  of  the  tone  must  come  from 
the  manner  in  which  the  blow  is  given 
to  the  string.  Recognition  of  this  fact 
has  stimulated  reflection,  and  this  in 
turn  has  discovered  methods  by  which 
temperament  and  emotionality  may  be 
made  to  express  themselves  as  freely, 
convincingly,  and  spontaneously  in 
pianoforte  as  in  violin  playing.  If 
this  were  not  so  it  would  be  impossible 
to  explain  the  difference  in  the  charm 
exerted  by  different  virtuosi,  for  it  has 
frequently  happened  that  the  best- 
equipped  mechanician  and  the  most  in- 
tellectual player  has  been  judged  in- 
ferior as  an  artist  to  another  whose  gifts 
were  of  the  soul  rather  than  of  the  brains 
and  fingers. 

The  feats  accomplished  by  a  piano- 
forte virtuoso  in  the  mechanical  depart- 
ment are  of  so  extraordinary  a  nature 
that  there  need  be  small  wonder  at  the 
wide  prevalence  of  a  distinctly  techni- 
cal cult.  All  who  know  the  real  nature 
and  mission  of  music  must  condemn 
such  a  cult.  It  is  a  sign  of  a  want  of 
true  appreciation  to  admire  technique 
for  technique's  sake.  It  is  a  mistaking 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

of  the  outward  shell  for  the  kernel,  a 
means  for  the  end.  There  are  still  many 
players  who  aim  to  secure  this  admira- 
tion, either  because  they  are  deficient  in 
real  musical  feeling,  or  because  they 
believe  themselves  surer  of  winning  ap- 
plause by  thus  appealing  to  the  lowest 
form  of  appreciation.  In  the  early  part 
of  the  century  they  would  have  been 
handicapped  by  the  instrument  which 
lent  itself  to  delicacy,  clearness,  and 
gracefulness  of  expression,  but  had 
little  power.  Now  the  pianoforte  has 
become  a  thing  of  rigid  steel,  enduring 
tons  of  strain  from  its  strings,  and  hav- 
ing a  voice  like  the  roar  of  many  waters ; 
to  keep  pace  with  it  players  have  be- 
come athletes  with 

"  Thews  of  Anakim 
And  pulses  of  a  Titan's  heart" 

They  care  no  more  for  the  "mur- 
murs made  to  bless,"  unless  it  be  occa- 
sionally for  the  sake  of  contrast/  but 
seek  to  astound,  amaze,  bewilder,  and 
confound  with  feats  of  skill  and  endur- 
ance. That  with  their  devotion  to  the 
purely  mechanical  side  of  the  art  they 



A  low  form 
of  art. 



skill  a 
matter  of 

The  plan  of 
study  in 
this  chap- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

are  threatening  to  destroy  pianoforte 
playing  gives  them  no  pause  whatever. 
The  era  which  they  illustrate  and  adorn 
is  the  technical  era  which  was,  is,  and 
ever  shall  be,  the  era  of  decay  in 
artistic  production.  For  the  judicious 
technique  alone,  be  it  never  so  marvel- 
lous, cannot  serve  to-day.  Its  posses- 
sion is  accepted  as  a  condition  precedent 
in  the  case  of  everyone  who  ventures  to 
appear  upon  the  concert-platform.  He 
must  be  a  wonder,  indeed,  who  can  dis- 
turb our  critical  equilibrium  by  mere 
digital  feats.  We  want  strength  and 
velocity  of  finger  to  be  coupled  with 
strength,  velocity,  and  penetration  of 
thought.  We  want  no  halting  or  lisp- 
ing in  the  proclamation  of  what  the 
composer  has  said,  but  we  want  the 
contents  of  his  thought,  not  the  hollow 
shell,  no  matter  how  distinctly  its  out- 
lines be  drawn. 

The  factors  which  present  themselves 
for  consideration  at  a  pianoforte  re- 
cital— mechanical,  intellectual,  and  emo- 
tional— can  be  most  intelligently  and 
profitably  studied  along  with  the  devel- 
opment of  the  instrument  and  its  music. 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

All  branches  of  the  study  are  invited  by 
the  typical  recital  programme.  The 
essentially  romantic  trend  of  Mr.  Pad- 
erewski's  nature  makes  his  excursions 
into  the  classical  field  few  and  short ; 
and  it  is  only  when  a  pianist  undertakes 
to  emulate  Rubinstein  in  his  historical 
recitals  that  the  entire  pre-Beethoven 
vista  is  opened  up.  It  will  suffice 
for  the  purposes  of  this  discussion  to 
imagine  a  programme  containing  pieces 
by  Bach,  D.  Scarlatti,  Handel,  and  Mo- 
zart in  one  group ;  a  sonata  by  Beetho- 
ven ;  some  of  the  shorter  pieces  of 
Schumann  and  Chopin,  and  one  of  the 
transcriptions  or  rhapsodies  of  Liszt. 

Such  a  scheme  falls  naturally  into  four 
divisions,  plainly  differentiated  from 
each  other  in  respect  of  the  style  of  com- 
position and  the  manner  of  performance, 
both  determined  by  the  nature  of  the 
instrument  employed  and  the  status  of 
the  musical  idea.  Simply  for  the  sake 
of  convenience  let  the  period  repre- 
sented by  the  first  group  be  called  the 
classic ;  the  second  the  classic-roman- 
tic ;  the  third  the  romantic,  and  the  last 
the  bravura.  I  beg  the  reader,  how- 



A  typical 
scheme  of 

'Periods  in 



sors of  the 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

ever,  not  to  extend  these  designations 
beyond  the  boundaries  of  the  present 
study  ;  they  have  been  chosen  arbitra- 
rily, and  confusion  might  result  if  the 
attempt  were  made  to  apply  them  to 
any  particular  concert  scheme.  I  have 
chosen  the  composers  because  of  their 
broadly  representative  capacity.  And 
they  must  stand  for  a  numerous  epigonoi 
whose  names  make  up  our  concert  lists : 
say,  Couperin,  Rameau,  and  Haydn 
in  the  first  group;  Schubert  in  the  sec- 
ond ;  Mendelssohn  and  Rubinstein  in 
the  third.  It  would  not  be  respectful 
to  the  memory  of  Liszt  were  I  to  give 
him  the  associates  with  whom  in  my 
opinion  he  stands ;  that  matter  may  be 
held  in  abeyance. 

The  instruments  for  which  the  first 
group  of  writers  down  to  Haydn  and 
Mozart  wrote,  were  the  immediate  pre- 
cursors of  the  pianoforte  —  the  clavi- 
chord, spinet,  or  virginal,  and  harpsi- 
chord. The  last  was  the  concert 
instrument,  and  stood  in  the  same  rela- 
tionship to  the  others  that  the  grand 
pianoforte  of  to-day  stands  to  the  up- 
right and  square.  The  clavichord  was 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

generally  the  medium  for  the  compos- 
er's private  communings  with  his  muse, 
because  of  its  superiority  over  its  fel- 
lows in  expressive  power;  but  it  gave 
forth  only  a  tiny  tinkle  and  was  inca- 
pable of  stirring  effects  beyond  those 
which  sprang  from  pure  emotionality. 
The  tone  was  produced  by  a  blow 
against  the  string,  delivered  by  a  bit  of 
brass  set  in  the  farther  end  of  the  key. 
The  action  was  that  of  a  direct  lever, 
and  the  bit  of  brass,  which  was  called 
the  tangent,  also  acted  as  a  bridge  and 
measured  off  the  segment  of  string 
whose  vibration  produced  the  desired 
tone.  It  was  therefore  necessary  to 
keep  the  key  pressed  down  so  long  as  it 
was  desired  that  the  tone  should  sound, 
a  fact  which  must  be  kept  in  mind  if 
one  would  understand  the  shortcomings 
as  well  as  the  advantages  of  the  instru- 
ment compared  with  the  spinet  or  harp- 
sichord. It  also  furnishes  one  explana- 
tion of  the  greater  lyricism  of  Bach's 
music  compared  with  that  of  his  con- 
temporaries. By  gently  rocking  the 
hand  while  the  key  was  down,  a  tremu- 
lous motion  could  be  communicated  to 



The  Clavi- 




Quilled  in- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

the  string,  which  not  only  prolonged  the 
tone  appreciably  but  gave  it  an  expres- 
sive effect  somewhat  analogous  to  the 
vibrato  of  a  violinist.  The  Germans 
called  this  effect  Bebung,  the  French 
Balancement,  and  it  was  indicated  by  a 
row  of  dots  under  a  short  slur  written 
over  the  note.  It  is  to  the  special  fond- 
ness which  Bach  felt  for  the  clavichord 
that  we  owe,  to  a  great  extent,  the  can- 
tabile  style  of  his  music,  its  many- 
voicedness  and  its  high  emotionality. 

The  spinet,  virginal,  and  harpsichord 
were  quilled  instruments,  the  tone  of 
which  was  produced  by  snapping  the 
strings  by  means  of  plectra  made  of 
quill,  or  some  other  flexible  substance, 
set  in  the  upper  end  of  a  bit  of  wood 
called  the  jack,  which  rested  on  the  far- 
ther end  of  the  key  and  moved  through 
a  slot  in  the  sounding-board.  When 
the  key  was  pressed  down,  the  jack 
moved  upward  past  the  string  which 
was  caught  and  twanged  by  the  plec- 
trum. The  blow  of  the  clavichord  tan- 
gent could  be  graduated  like  that  of  the ' 
pianoforte  hammer,  but  the  quills  of  the 
other  instruments  always  plucked  the 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

strings  with  the  same  force,  so  that  me- 
chanical devices,  such  as  a  swell-box, 
similar  in  principle  to  that  of  the  or- 
gan, coupling  in  octaves,  doubling  the 
strings,  etc.,  had  to  be  resorted  to  for 
variety  of  dynamic  effects.  The  char- 
acter of  tone  thus  produced  determined 
the  character  of  the  music  composed  for 
these  instruments  to  a  great  extent. 
The  brevity  of  the  sound  made  sus- 
tained melodies  ineffective,  and  encour- 
aged the  use  of  a  great  variety  of  em- 
bellishments and  the  spreading  out  of 
harmonies  in  the  form  of  arpeggios. 
It  is  obvious  enough  that  Bach,  being 
one  of  those  monumental  geniuses  that 
cast  their  prescient  vision  far  into  the 
future,  refused  to  be  bound  by  such  me- 
chanical limitations.  Though  he  wrote 
Clavier,  he  thought  organ,  which  was  h?s 
true  interpretative  medium,  and  so  it 
happens  that  the  greatest  sonority  and 
the  broadest  style  that  have  been  de- 
veloped in  the  pianoforte  do  not  ex- 
haust the  contents  of  such  a  composi- 
tion as  the  "  Chromatic  Fantasia  and 

The  earliest  music  written  for  these 


Tone  of  the 
chord and 

"Music  of 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

instruments — music  which  does  not  en- 
ter into  this  study — was  but  one  remove 
from  vocal  music.  It  came  through 
compositions  written  for  the  organ. 
Of  Scarlatti's  music  the  pieces  most 
familiar  are  a  Capriccio  and  Pastorale 
which  Tausig  rewrote  for  the  piano- 
forte. They  were  called  sonatas  by 
their  composer,  but  are  not  sonatas 
in  the  modern  sense.  Sonata  means 
"sound-piece,"  and  when  the  term  came 
into  music  it  signified  only  that  the 
composition  to  which  it  was  applied 
was  written  for  instruments  instead  of 
voices.  Scarlatti  did  a  great  deal  to 
develop  the  technique  of  the  harpsi- 
chord and  the  style  of  composing  for  it. 
His  sonatas  consist  each  of  a  single 
movement  only,  but  in  their  structure 
they  foreshadow  the  modern  sonata 
form  in  having  two  contrasted  themes, 
which  are  presented  in  a  fixed  key-rela- 
tionship. They  are  frequently  full  of 
grace  and  animation,  but  are  as  purely 
objective,  formal,  and  soulless  in  their 
content  as  the  other  instrumental  com- 
positions of  the  epoch  to  which  they 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

The  most  significant  of  the  composi- 
tions of  this  period  are  the  Suites,  which 
because  they  make  up  so  large  a  per- 
centage of  Clavier  literature  (using  the 
term  to  cover  the  pianoforte  and  its  pred- 
ecessors), and  because  they  pointed  the 
way  to  the  distinguishing  form  of  the 
subsequent  period,  the  sonata,  are  deserv- 
ing of  more  extended  consideration.  The 
suite  is  a  set  of  pieces  in  the  same  key, 
but  contrasted  in  character,  based  upon 
certain  admired  dance-forms.  Originally 
it  was  a  set  of  dances  and  nothing  more, 
but  in  the  hands  of  the  composers  the 
dances  underwent  many  modifications, 
some  of  them  to  the  obvious  detriment 
of  their  national  or  other  distinguish- 
ing characteristics.  The  suite  came 
into  fashion  about  the  middle  of  the 
seventeenth  century  and  was  also  called 
Sonata  da  Camera  and  Ballet  to  in  Italy, 
and,  later,  Partita  in  France.  In  its  fun- 
damental form  it  embraced  four  move- 
ments: I.  Allemande.  II.  Courante. 
III.  Sarabande.  IV.  Gigue.  To  these 
four  were  sometimes  added  other  dances 
—the  Gavotte,  Passepied,  Branle,  Min- 
uet, Bourree,  etc. — but  the  rule  was  that 



The  suite. 

Its  history 



The  bond 
between  the 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 

they  should  be  introduced  between  the 
Sarabande  and  the  Gigue.  Sometimes 
also  the  set  was  introduced  by  a  Prelude 
or  an  Overture.  Identity  of  key  was 
the  only  external  tie  between  the  vari- 
ous members  of  the  suite,  but  the  com- 
posers sought  to  establish  an  artistic 
unity  by  elaborating  the  sentiments  for 
which  the  dance-forms  seemed  to  offer 
a  vehicle,  and  presenting  them  in  agree- 
able contrast,  besides  enriching  the 
primitive  structure  with  new  material. 
The  suites  of  Bach  and  Handel  are  the 
high-water  mark  in  this  style  of  com- 
position, but  it  would  be  difficult  to 
find  the  original  characteristics  of  the 
dances  in  their  settings.  It  must  suffice 
us  briefly  to  indicate  the  characteristics 
of  the  principal  forms. 

The  Allemande,  as  its  name  indicates, 
was  a  dance  of  supposedly  German 
origin.  For  that  reason  the  German 
composers,  when  it  came  to  them  from 
France,  where  the  suite  had  its  origin, 
treated  it  with  great  partiality.  It  is 
in  moderate  tempo,  common  time,  and 
made  up  of  two  periods  of  eight  meas- 
ures, both  of  which  are  repeated.  It 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 


begins  with  an  upbeat,  and  its  metre, 
to  use  the  terms  of  prosody,  is  iambic. 
The    following    specimen    from     Mer- 
senne's  "  Harmonic  Universelle,"  1636, 
well  displays  its  characteristics  : 


»y  r  i  ''  —  '  —  l  —  f—1-4  —  t—t  —  !  —  i 

>      [  r^  *  i*..  1  «•  f  i    1  1  *  (^  \  \  ?_  -^-..  —  1 

—  i  —  i  —  ,  —  f-\  [  i  |l     I  —  1  —  (-41  1 

I  '    r   r  r  T  i"'  Ji:'  F  »   »  '  I 
i  r'  r  r  r  if  L-^r-i*>  r  r  -  r>i 

p  —  p_|  f3    r-  \r*  '  m    -,    f3  -g—  a  —  p   •      .g  -g^v-ai 

Robert  Burns's  familiar  iambics, 

"  Ye  flowery  banks  o'  bonnie  Doon, 
How  can  ye  bloom  sae  fair  ? 
How  can  ye  chant,  ye  little  birds, 
And  I  sae  fu'  o'  care  !  " 

might  serve  to  keep    the    rhythmical 
characteristics    of    the    Allemande    in 
mind   were  it    not    for    the    arbitrary 
changes  made  by  the  composers  already 
hinted  at.     As  it  is,  we  frequently  find 
the  stately  movement  of  the  old  dance 

Iambics  in 
music  and 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

broken  up  into  elaborate,  but  always 
quietly  flowing,  ornamentation,  as  indi- 
cated in  the  following  excerpt  from  the 
third  of  Bach's  English  suites: 


* L— * 

J-    J 


The  Courante,  or  Corrente  ("  Teach 
lavoltas  high  and  swift  corantos,"  says 
Shakespeare),  is  a  French  dance  which 
was  extremely  popular  in  the  sixteenth, 
seventeenth,  and  eighteenth  centuries 
— a  polite  dance,  like  the  minuet.  It 
was  in  triple  time,  and  its  movement 
was  bright  and  brisk,  a  merry  energy 
being  imparted  to  the  measure  by  the 
prevailing  figure,  a  dotted  quarter-note, 
an  eighth,  and  a  quarter  in  a  measure, 
as  illustrated  in  the  following  excerpt 
also  from  Mersenne : 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 


The  suite  composers  varied  the  move- 


ment  greatly,  however,  and  the  Italian 


Corrente  consists  chiefly  of  rapid  run- 

ning passages. 

The  Sarabande  was  also  in  triple  time, 


but  its  movement  was  slow  and  stately. 


In  Spain,  whence  it  was  derived,  it  was 

sung   to  the  accompaniment  of  casta- 

nets, a  fact  which  in  itself  suffices  to  in- 

dicate that  it  was  originally  of  a  lively 

character,  and  took  on  its  solemnity  in 

the  hands  of  the  later  composers.    Han- 

del found   the  Sarabande  a  peculiarly 

admirable  vehicle  for  his  inspirations, 

and  one  of  the  finest  examples  extant 

figures  in  the  triumphal  music   of  his 

"Almira,"  composed  in  1704: 

7T                            I  ~       r 

by  Handel. 

1P'ft-i9-    -J&-          -*-     s~}       f£             ff     -£3*  -(9-          -g-    -&-        •&-        •**- 

-  J   I  J  fl  J  J    J  J          Kn>- 

r     ^'-    *'J'r:n 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 


J.       ! 

*    rj  •    ^Hi~^~g~J~r^-flp-^-f =1 
r   ^- 

Seven  years  after  the  production  of 
"  Almira,"  Handel  recurred  to  this 
beautiful  instrumental  piece,  and  out  of 
it  constructed  the  exquisite  lament  be- 
ginning "  Lascia  ch'io  pianga "  in  his 
opera  "  Rinaldo." 

Great  Britain's  contribution  to  the 
Suite  was  the  final  Gigue,  which  is  our 
jolly  and  familiar  friend  the  jig,  and 
in  all  probability  is  Keltic  in  origin.  It 
is,  as  everybody  knows,  a  rollicking 
measure  in  6-8,  12-8,  or  4-4  time,  with 
twelve  triplet  quavers  in  a  measure, 
and  needs  no  description.  It  remained 
a  favorite  with  composers  until  far  into 
the  eighteenth  century.  Shakespeare 
proclaims  its  exuberant  lustiness  when 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 


he  makes  Sir  Toby  Belch  protest  that 
had  he  Sir  Andrew's  gifts  his  "  very 
walk  should  be  a  jig."  Of  the  other 
dances  incorporated  into  the  suite,  two 
are  deserving  of  special  mention  be- 
cause of  their  influence  on  the  music  of 
to-day — the  Minuet,  which  is  the  par- 
ent of  the  symphonic  scherzo,  and  the 
Gavotte,  whose  fascinating  movement  is 
frequently  heard  in  latter-day  operet- 
tas. The  Minuet  is  a  French  dance, 
and  came  from  Poitou.  Louis  XIV. 
danced  it  to  Lully's  music  for  the  first 
time  at  Versailles  in  1653,  and  it  soon 
became  the  most  popular  of  court  and 
society  dances,  holding  its  own  down 
to  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  cen- 
tury. It  was  long  called  the  Queen  of 
Dances,  and  there  is  no  one  who  has 
grieved  to  see  the  departure  of  gal- 
lantry and  grace  from  our  ball-rooms 
but  will  wish  to  see  Her  Gracious  Maj- 
esty restored  to  her  throne.  The  mu- 
sic of  the  minuet  is  in  3-4  time,  and  of 
stately  movement.  The  Gavotte  is  a 
lively  dance-measure  in  common  time, 
beginning,  as  a  rule,  on  the  third  beat. 
Its  origin  has  been  traced  to  the  moun- 








of  the 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tain    people    of    the    Dauphine*    called 
Gavots — whence  its  name. 

The  transferrence  of  this  music  to  the 
modern  pianoforte  has  effected  a  vast 
change  in  the  manner  of  its  perform- 
ance. In  the  period  under  considera- 
tipn  emotionality,  which  is  considered 
the  loftiest  attribute  of  pianoforte 
playing  to-day,  was  lacking,  except 
in  the  case  of  such  masters  of  the 
clavichord  as  the  great  Bach  and  his  son, 
Carl  Philipp  Emanuel,  who  inherited 
his  father's  preference  for  that  instru- 
ment over  the  harpsichord  and  piano- 
forte. Tastefulness  in  the  giving  out 
of  the  melody,  distinctness  of  enuncia- 
tion, correctness  of  phrasing,  nimble- 
ness  and  lightness  of  finger,  summed  up 
practically  all  that  there  was  in  virtuoso- 
ship.  Intellectuality  and  digital  skill 
were  the  essential  factors.  Beauty  of 
tone  through  which  feeling  and  tem- 
perament speak  now  was  the  product 
of  the  maker  of  the  instrument,  except 
again  in  the  case  of  the  clavichord,  in 
which  it  may  have  been  largely  the 
creation  of  the  player.  It  is,  therefore, 
not  surprising  that  the  first  revolution 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

in  technique  of  which  we  hear  was  ac- 
complished by  Bach,  who,  the  better  to 
bring  out  the  characteristics  of  his  poly- 
phonic style,  made  use  of  the  thumb, 
till  then  considered  almost  a  useless 
member  of  the  hand  in  playing,  and 
bent  his  fingers,  so  that  their  move- 
ments might  be  more  unconstrained. 

Of  the  varieties  of  touch,  which  play 
such  a  role  in  pianoforte  pedagogics 
to-day,  nothing  was  known.  Only  on 
the  clavichord  was  a  blow  delivered 
directly  against  the  string,  and,  as  has 
already  been  said,  only  on  that  instru- 
ment was  the  dynamic  shading  regu- 
lated by  the  touch.  Practically,  the 
same  touch  was  used  on  the  organ  and 
the  stringed  instruments  with  key-board. 
When  we  find  written  praise  of  the  old 
players  it  always  goes  to  the  fluency 
and  lightness  of  their  fingering.  Han- 
del was  greatly  esteemed  as  a  harpsi- 
chord player,  and  seems  to  have  in- 
vented a  position  of  the  hand  like 
Bach's,  or  to  have  copied  it  from  that 
master.  Forkel  tells  us  the  movement 
of  Bach's  fingers  was  so  slight  as  to  be 
scarcely  noticeable ;  the  position  of  his 



Change  in 






How  to  Listen  to  Music 

hands  remained  unchanged  throughout, 
and  the  rest  of  his  body  motionless. 
Speaking  of  Handel's  harpsichord  play- 
ing, Burney  says  that  his  fingers 
"seemed  to  grow  to  the  keys.  They 
were  so  curved  and  compact  when  he 
played  that  no  motion,  and  scarcely  the 
fingers  themselves,  could  be  discovered." 
Scarlatti's  significance  lies  chiefly  in  an 
extension  of  the  technique  of  his  time 
so  as  to  give  greater  individuality  to  the 
instrument.  He  indulged  freely  in  brill- 
iant passages  and  figures  which  some- 
times call  for  a  crossing  of  the  hands,  also 
in  leaps  of  over  an  octave,  repetition 
of  a  note  by  different  fingers,  broken 
chords  in  contrary  motion,  and  other 
devices  which  prefigure  modern  piano- 
forte music. 

That  Scarlatti  also  pointed  the  way 
to  the  modern  sonata,  I  have  already 
said.  The  history  of  the  sonata, 
as  the  term  is  now  understood,  ends 
with  Beethoven.  Many  sonatas  have 
been  written  since  the  last  one  of  that 
great  master,  but  not  a  word  has  been 
added  to  his  proclamation.  He  stands, 
therefore,  as  a  perfect  exemplar  of  the 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

second  period  in  the  scheme  which  we 
have  adopted  for  the  study  of  piano- 
forte music  and  playing.  In  a  general 
way  a  sonata  may  be  described  as  a 
composition  of  four  movements,  con- 
trasted in  mood,  tempo,  sentiment,  and 
character,  but  connected  by  that  spirit- 
ual bond  of  which  mention  was  made  in 
our  study  of  the  symphony.  In  short, 
a  sonata  is  a  symphony  for  a  solo  instru- 

When  it  came  into  being  it  was 
little  else  than  a  convenient  formula 
for  the  expression  of  musical  beauty. 
Haydn,  who  perfected  it  on  its  formal 
side,  left  it  that  and  nothing  more. 
Mozart  poured  the  vessel  full  of  beauty, 
but  Beethoven  breathed  the  breath  of  a 
new  life  into  it.  An  old  writer  tells  us 
of  Haydn  that  he  was  wont  to  say  that 
the  whole  art  of  composing  consisted  in 
taking  up  a  subject  and  pursuing  it. 
Having  invented  his  theme,  he  would 
begin  by  choosing  the  keys  through 
which  he  wished  to  make  it  pass. 

"  His  exquisite  feeling  gave  him  a  perfect  knowl- 
edge of  the  greater  or  less  degree  of  effect  which 



The  sonata. 





manner  of 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

one  chord  produces  in  succeeding  another,  and  he 
afterward  imagined  a  little  romance  which  might 
furnish  him  with  sentiments  and  colors." 

Beethoven  began  with  the  sentiment 
and  worked  from  it  outwardly,  modify- 
ing the  form  when  it  became  necessary 
to  do  so,  in  order  to  obtain  complete 
and  perfect  utterance.  He  made  spirit 
rise  superior  to  matter.  This  must  be 
borne  in  mind  when  comparing  the 
technique  of  the  previous  period  with 
that  of  which  I  have  made  Beethoven 
the  representative.  In  the  little  that 
we  are  privileged  to  read  of  Mozart's 
style  of  playing,  we  see  only  a  reflex  of 
the  players  who  went  before  him,  sav- 
ing as  it  was  permeated  by  the  warmth 
which  went  out  from  his  own  genial 
personality.  His  manipulation  of  the 
keys  had  the  quietness  and  smoothness 
that  were  praised  in  Bach  and  Handel. 

"  Delicacy  and  taste,"  says  Kullak,  "  with  his 
lifting  of  the  entire  technique  to  the  spiritual  aspi- 
ration of  the  idea,  elevate  him  as  a  virtuoso  to  a 
height  unanimously  conceded  by  the  public,  by  con- 
noisseurs, and  by  Artists  capable  of  judging,  de- 
menti declared  that  he  had  never  heard  any  one 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

play  so  soulfully  and  charmfully  as  Mozart;  Dit- 
tersdorf  finds  art  and  taste  combined  in  his  play- 
ing; Haydn  asseverated  with  tears  that  Mozart's 
playing  he  could  never  forget,  for  it  touched  the 
heart.  His  staccato  is  said  to  have  possessed  a 
peculiarly  brilliant  charm." 

The  period  of  C.  P.  E.  Bach,  Haydn, 
and  Mozart  is  that  in  which  the  piano- 
forte gradually  replaced  its  predeces- 
sors, and  the  first  real  pianist  was  Mo- 
zart's contemporary  and  rival,  Muzio 
Clementi.  His  chief  significance  lies  in 
his  influence  as  a  technician,  for  he 
opened  the  way  to  the  modern  style  of 
play  with  its  greater  sonority  and  ca- 
pacity for  expression.  Under  him  pas- 
sage playing  became  an  entirely  new 
thing;  deftness,  lightness,  and  fluency 
were  replaced  by  stupendous  virtuoso- 
ship,  which  rested,  nevertheless,  on  a  full 
and  solid  tone.  He  is  said  to  have  been 
able  to  trill  in  octaves  with  one  hand. 
He  was  necessary  for  the  adequate  in- 
terpretation of  Beethoven,  whose  music 
is  likehr  to  be  best  understood  by  those 
who  know  that  he,  too,  was  a  superb 
pianoforte  player,  fully  up  to  the  re- 
quirements which  his  last  sonatas  make 



as  a 



Beethoven 's 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

upon  technical  skill  as  well  as  intellect- 
ual and  emotional  gifts. 

Czerny,  who  was  a  pupil  of  Beethoven, 
has  preserved  a  fuller  account  of  that 
great  composer's  art  as  a  player  than  we 
have  of  any  of  his  predecessors.  He  de- 
scribes his  technique  as  tremendous,  bet- 
ter than  that  of  any  virtuoso  of  his  day. 
He  was  remarkably  deft  in  connecting 
the  full  chords,  in  which  he  delighted, 
without  the  use  of  the  pedal.  His  man- 
ner at  the  instrument  was  composed  and 
quiet.  He  sat  erect,  without  movement 
of  the  upper  body,  and  only  when  his 
deafness  compelled  him  to  do  so,  in 
order  to  hear  his  own  music,  did  he  con- 
tract a  habit  of  leaning  forward.  With 
an  evident  appreciation  of  the  necessi- 
ties of  old-time  music  he  had  a  great 
admiration  for  clean  fingering,  especi- 
ally in  fugue  playing,  and  he  objected  to 
the  use  of  Cramer's  studies  in  the  in- 
struction of  his  nephew  by  Czerny  be- 
cause they  led  to  what  he  called  a 
"  sticky "  style  of  play,  and  failed  to 
bring  out  crisp  staccatos  and  a  light 
touch.  But  it  was  upon  expression  that 
he  insisted  most  of  all  when  he  taught. 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

More  than  anyone  else  it  was  Beet- 
hoven who  brought  music  back  to  the 
purpose  which  it  had  in  its  first  rude 
state,  when  it  sprang  unvolitionally 
from  the  heart  and  lips  of  primitive 
man.  It  became  again  a  vehicle  for 
the  feelings.  As  such  it  was  accepted 
by  the  romantic  composers  to  whom 
he  belongs  as  father,  seer,  and  prophet, 
quite  as  intimately  as  he  belongs  to  the 
classicists  by  reason  of  his  adherence  to 
form  as  an  essential  in  music.  To  his 
contemporaries  he  appears  as  an  image- 
breaker,  but  to  the  clearer  vision  of  to- 
day he  stands  an  unshakable  barrier  to 
lawless  iconoclasm.  Says  Sir  George 
Grove,  quoting  Mr.  Edward  Dannreu- 
ther,  in  the  passages  within  the  inverted 
commas  : 

"  That  he  was  no  wild  radical  altering  for  the 
mere  pleasure  of  alteration,  or  in  the  mere  search 
for  originality,  is  evident  from  the  length  of  time 
during  which  he  abstained  from  publishing,  or  even 
composing  works  of  pretension,  and  from  the  like- 
ness which  his  early  works  possess  to  those  of  his 
predecessors.  He  began  naturally  with  the  forms 
which  were  in  use  in  his  days,  and  his  alteration  of 
them  grew  very  gradually  with  the  necessities  of 
his  expression.  The  form  of  the  sonata  is  '  the 


Music  and 

a  Roman- 






How  to  Listen  to  Music 

transparent  veil  through  which  Beethoven  seems  to 
have  looked  at  all  music.'  And  the  good  points  of 
that  form  he  retained  to  the  last — the  '  triune  sym- 
metry of  exposition,  illustration,  and  repetition,' 
which  that  admirable  method  allowed  and  enforced 
— but  he  permitted  himself  a  much  greater  liberty 
than  his  predecessors  had  done  in  the  relationship 
of  the  keys  of  the  different  movements,  and  parts  of 
movements,  and  in  the  proportion  of  the  clauses 
and  sections  with  which  he  built  them  up.  In  other 
words,  he  was  less  bound  by  the  forms  and  musical 
rules,  and  more  swayed  by  the  thought  which  he 
had  to  express,  and  the  directions  which  that 
thought  took  in  his  mind." 

It  is  scarcely  to  be  wondered  at  that 
when  men  like  Schumann  and  Chopin 
felt  the  full  force  of  the  new  evangel 
which  Beethoven  had  preached,  they 
proceeded  to  carry  the  formal  side  of 
poetic  expression,  its  vehicle,  into  re- 
gions unthought  of  before  their  time. 
The  few  old  forms  had  now  to  give  way 
to  a  large  variety.  In  their  work  they 
proceeded  from  points  that  were  far 
apart — Schumann's  was  literary,  Cho- 
pin's political.  In  one  respect  the  lists 
of  their  pieces  which  appear  most  fre- 
quently on  recital  programmes  seem  to 
hark  back  to  the  suites  of  two  centu- 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

ries  ago — they  are  sets  of  short  composi- 
tions grouped,  either  by  the  composer 
(as  is  the  case  with  Schumann)  or  by 
the  performer  (as  is  the  case  with 
Chopin  in  the  hands  of  Mr.  Paderew- 
ski).  Such  fantastic  musical  miniatures 
as  Schumann's  "  Carnaval  "  and  "  Papil- 
lons"  are  eminently  characteristic  of  the 
composer's  intellectual  and  emotional 
nature,  which  in  his  university  days  had 
fallen  under  the  spell  of  literary  ro- 

While  ostensibly  studying  jurispru- 
dence at  Heidelberg,  Schumann  de- 
voted seven  hours  a  day  to  the  piano- 
forte and  several  to  Jean  Paul.  It  was 
this  writer  who  moulded  not  only 
Schumann's  literary  style  in  his  early 
years,  but  also  gave  the  bent  which  his 
creative  activity  in  music  took  at  the 
outset.  To  say  little,  but  vaguely  hint 
at  much,  was  the  rule  which  he  adopted ; 
to  remain  sententious  in  expression,  but 
give  the  freest  and  most  daring  flight 
to  his  imagination,  and  spurn  the  con- 
ventional limitations  set  by  rule  and  cus- 
tom, his  ambition.  Such  fanciful  and 
symbolical  titles  as  "  Flower,  Fruit,  and 






i  go 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

Thorn  Pieces,"  "Titan/'  etc.,  which 
Jean  Paul  adopted  for  his  singular  mixt- 
ures of  tale,  rhapsody,  philosophy,  and 
satire,  were  bound  to  find  an  imitator 
in  so  ardent  an  apostle  as  young  Schu- 
mann, and,  therefore,  we  have  such  com- 
positions as  "  Papillons,"  "  Carnaval," 
"  Kreisleriana,"  "  Phantasiestucke,"  and 
the  rest.  Almost  always,  it  may  be 
said,  the  pieces  which  make  them  up 
were  composed  under  the  poetical  and 
emotional  impulses  derived  from  liter- 
ature, then  grouped  and  named.  To 
understand  their  poetic  contents  this 
must  be  known. 

Chopin's  fancy,  on  the  other  hand, 
found  stimulation  in  the  charm  which, 
for  him,  lay  in  the  tone  of  the  piano- 
forte itself  (to  which  he  added  a  new 
loveliness  by  his  manner  of  writing),  as 
well  as  in  the  rhythms  of  the  popular 
dances  of  his  country.  These  dances 
he  not  only  beautified  as  the  old  suite 
writers  beautified  their  forms,  but  he 
utilized  them  as  vessels  which  he  filled 
with  feeling,  not  all  of  which  need  be 
accepted  as  healthy,  though  much  of 
it  is.  As  to  his  titles,  "  Preludes "  is 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 


purely  an  arbitrary  designation  for 
compositions  which  are  equally  indefi- 
nite in  form  and  character;  Niecks 
compares  them  very  aptly  to  a  portfolio 
full  of  drawings  "  in  all  stages  of  ad- 
vancement—  finished  and  unfinished, 
complete  and  incomplete  compositions, 
sketches  and  mere  memoranda,  all 
mixed  indiscriminately  together."  So, 
too,  they  appeared  to  Schumann: 
"  They  are  sketches,  commencements  of 
studies,  or,  if  you  will,  ruins,  single 
eagle-wings,  all  strangely  mixed  to- 
gether." Nevertheless  some  of  them 
are  marvellous  soul-pictures. 

The  "  fitudes  "  are  studies  intended  to 
develop  the  technique  of  the  pianoforte 
in  the  line  of  the  composer's  discoveries, 
his  method  of  playing  extended  arpeg- 
gios, contrasted  rhythms,  progressions 
in  thirds  and  octaves,  etc.,  but  still  they 
breathe  poetry  and  sometimes  passion. 
Nocturne  is  an  arbitrary,  but  expres- 
sive, title  for  a  short  composition  of  a 
dreamy,  contemplative,  or  even  elegiac, 
character.  In  many  of  his  nocturnes 
Chopin  is  the  adored  sentimentalist  of 
boarding  -  school  misses.  There  is 









How  to  Listen  to  Music 

poppy  in  them  and  seductive  poison  for 
which  Niecks  sensibly  prescribes  Bach 
and  Beethoven  as  antidotes.  The  term 
ballad  has  been  greatly  abused  in  litera- 
ture, and  in  music  is  intrinsically  un- 
meaning. Chopin's  four  Ballades  have 
one  feature  in  common — they  are  writ- 
ten in  triple  time ;  and  they  are  among 
his  finest  inspirations. 

Chopin's  dances  are  conventionalized, 
and  do  not  all  speak  the  idiom  of  the  peo- 
ple who  created  their  forms,  but  their 
original  characteristics  ought  to  be 
known.  The  Polonaise  was  the  stately 
dance  of  the  Polish  nobility,  more  a 
march  or  procession  than  a  dance,  full 
of  gravity  and  courtliness,  with  an  im- 
posing and  majestic  rhythm  in  triple 
time  that  tends  to  emphasize  the  second 
beat  of  the  measure,  frequently  synco- 
pating it  and  accentuating  the  second 
half  of  the  first  beat : 

3  JT , 



National  color  comes  out  more  clearly 
in  his  Mazurkas.  Unlike  the  Polonaise 
this  was  the  dance  of  the  common  peo- 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

pie,  and  even  as  conventionalized  and 
poetically  refined  by  Chopin  there  is 
still  in  the  Mazurka  some  of  the  rude 
vigor  which  lies  in  its  propulsive 
rhythm  : 



The  Krakowiak  (French  Cracovienne, 
Mr.  Paderewski  has  a  fascinating  speci- 
men in  his  "  Humoresques  de  Concert," 
op.  14)  is  a  popular  dance  indigenous  to 
the  district  of  Cracow,  whence  its  name. 
Its  rhythmical  elements  are  these : 

and/  J    / 

In  the  music  of  this  period  there  is 
noticeable  a  careful  attention  on  the 
part  of  the  composers  to  the  peculiari- 
ties of  the  pianoforte.  No  music,  save 
perhaps  that  of  Liszt,  is  so  idiomatic. 
Frequently  in  Beethoven  the  content 
of  the  music  seems  too  great  for  the 
medium  of  expression ;  we  feel  that  the 
thought  would  have  had  better  expres- 
sion had  the  master  used  the  orchestra 
instead  of  the  pianoforte.  We  may 








than  idiom. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

well  pause  a  moment  to  observe  the 
development  of  the  instrument  and  its 
technique  from  then  till  now,  but  as 
condemnation  has  already  been  pro- 
nounced against  excessive  admiration 
of  technique  for  technique's  sake,  so  now 
I  would  first  utter  a  warning  against 
our  appreciation  of  the  newer  charm. 
"  Idiomatic  of  the  pianoforte  "  is  a  good 
enough  phrase  and  a  useful,  indeed,  but 
there  is  danger  that  if  abused  it  may 
bring  something  like  discredit  to  the 
instrument.  It  would  be  a  pity  if  music, 
which  contains  the  loftiest  attributes  of 
artistic  beauty,  should  fail  of  apprecia- 
tion simply  because  it  had  been  ob- 
served that  the  pianoforte  is  not  the 
most  convenient,  appropriate,  or  effec- 
tive vehicle  for  its  publication — a  pity 
for  the  pianoforte,  for  therein  would 
lie  an  exemplification  of  its  imperfec- 
tion. So,  too,  it  would  be  a  pity  if  the 
opinion  should  gain  ground  that  music 
which  had  been  clearly  designed  to 
meet  the  nature  of  the  instrument  was 
for  that  reason  good  pianoforte  music, 
i.e.,  "  idiomatic  "  music,  irrespective  of 
its  content. 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

In  Beethoven's  day  the  pianoforte 
was  still  a  feeble  instrument  compared 
with  the  grand  of  to-day.  Its  capac- 
ities were  but  beginning  to  be  ap- 
preciated. Beethoven  had  to  seek  and 
invent  effects  which  now  are  known 
to  every  amateur.  The  instrument 
which  the  English  manufacturer  Broad- 
wood  presented  to  him  in  1817  had  a 
compass  of  six  octaves,  and  was  a  whole 
octave  wider  in  range  than  Mozart's 
pianoforte.  In  1793  dementi  extended 
the  key-board  to  five  and  a  half  oc- 
taves ;  six  and  a  half  octaves  were 
reached  in  1811,  and  seven  in  1851. 
Since  1851  three  notes  have  been  added 
without  material  improvement  to  the 
instrument.  This  extension  of  compass, 
however,  is  far  from  being  the  most 
important  improvement  since  the  clas- 
sic period.  The  growth  in  power,  so- 
nority, and  tonal  brilliancy  has  been 
much  more  marked,  and  of  it  Liszt 
made  striking  use. 

Very  significant,  too,  in  their  relation 
to  the  development  of  the  music,  were 
the  invention  and  improvement  of  the 
pedals.  The  shifting  pedal  was  invented 



ment of  the 






How  to  Listen  to  Music 

by  a  Viennese  maker  named  Stein,  who 
first  applied  it  to  an  instrument  which 
he  named  "  Saiten-harmonika."  Before 
then  soft  effects  were  obtained  by  inter- 
posing a  bit  of  felt  between  the  hammers 
and  the  strings,  as  may  still  be  seen  in 
old  square  pianofortes.  The  shifting 
pedal,  or  soft  pedal  as  it  is  popularly 
called,  moves  the  key-board  and  action 
so  that  the  hammer  strikes  only  one  or 
two  of  the  unison  strings,  leaving  the 
other  to  vibrate  sympathetically.  Beet- 
hoven was  the  first  to  appreciate  the 
possibilities  of  this  effect  (see  the  slow 
movement  of  his  concerto  in  G  major 
and  his  last  sonatas),  but  after  him  came 
Schumann  and  Chopin,  and  brought 
pedal  manipulation  to  perfection,  especi- 
ally that  of  the  damper  pedal.  This  is 
popularly  called  the  loud  pedal,  and  the 
vulgarest  use  to  which  it  can  be  put  is 
to  multiply  the  volume  of  tone.  It  was 
Chopin  who  showed  its  capacity  for 
sustaining  a  melody  and  enriching  the 
color  effects  by  releasing  the  strings 
from  the  dampers  and  utilizing  the  ethe- 
real sounds  which  rise  from  the  strings 
when  they  vibrate  sympathetically. 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

It  is  no  part  of  my  purpose  to  indulge 
in  criticism  of  composers,  but  some- 
thing of  the  kind  is  made  unavoidable 
by  the  position  assigned  to  Liszt  in  our 
pianoforte  recitals.  He  is  relied  upon 
to  provide  a  scintillant  close.  The 
pianists,  then,  even  those  who  are  his 
professed  admirers,  are  responsible  if 
he  is  set  down  in  our  scheme  as  the 
exemplar  of  the  technical  cult.  Tech- 
nique having  its  unquestioned  value,  we 
are  bound  to  admire  the  marvellous 
gifts  which  enabled  Liszt  practically  to 
sum  up  all  the  possibilities  of  pianoforte 
mechanism  in  its  present  stage  of  con- 
struction, but  we  need  not  look  with 
unalloyed  gratitude  upon  his  influence 
as  a  composer.  There  were,  I  fear,  two 
sides  to  Liszt's  artistic  character  as  well 
as  his  moral.  I  believe  he  had  in  him  a 
touch  of  charlatanism  as  well  as  a  mag- 
nificent amount  of  artistic  sincerity — 
just  as  he  blended  a  laxity  of  moral 
ideas  with  a  profound  religious  mysti- 
cism. It  would  have  been  strange  in- 
deed, growing  up  as  he  did  in  the 
whited  sepulchre  of  Parisian  salon  life, 
if  he  had  not  accustomed  himself  to 




A  dual 





How  to  Listen  to  Music 

sacrifice  a  little  of  the  soul  of  art  for 
the  sake  of  vainglory,  and  a  little  of  its 
poetry  and  feeling  to  make  display  of 
those  dazzling  digital  feats  which  he  in- 
vented. But,  be  it  said  to  his  honor,  he 
never  played  mountebank  tricks  in  the 
presence  of  the  masters  whom  he  re- 
vered. It  was  when  he  approached  the 
music  of  Beethoven  that  he  sank  all 
thought  of  self  and  rose  to  a  peerless 
height  as  an  interpreting  artist. 

Liszt's  place  as  a  composer  of  original 
music  has  not  yet  been  determined,  but 
as  a  transcriber  of  the  music  of  others 
the  givers  of  pianoforte  recitals  keep 
him  always  before  us.  The  showy 
Hungarian  Rhapsodies  with  which  the 
majority  of  pianoforte  recitals  end  are, 
however,  more  than  mere  transcrip- 
tions. They  are  constructed  out  of  the 
folk-songs  of  the  Magyars,  and  in  their 
treatment  the  composer  has  frequently 
reproduced  the  characteristic  perform- 
ances which  they  receive  at  the  hands 
of  the  Gypsies  from  whom  he  learned 
them.  This  fact  and  the  belief  to  which 
Liszt  gave  currency  in  his  book  "JDes 
Boh6miens  et  de  leur  musique  en  Hon- 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 

grie  "  have  given  rise  to  the  almost  uni- 
versal belief  that  the  Magyar  melodies 
are  of  Gypsy  origin.  This  belief  is  er- 
roneous. The  Gypsies  have  for  centu- 
ries been  the  musical  practitioners  of 
Hungary,  but  they  are  not  the  compos- 
ers of  the  music  of  the  Magyars,  though 
they  have  put  a  marked  impress  not 
only  on  the  melodies,  but  also  on  popu- 
lar taste.  The  Hungarian  folk-songs 
are  a  perfect  reflex  of  the  national  char- 
acter of  the  Magyars,  and  some  have 
been  traced  back  centuries  in  their  lit- 
erature. Though  their  most  marked 
melodic  peculiarity,  the  frequent  use  of 
a  minor  scale  containing  one  or  even 
two  superfluous  seconds,  as  thus  : 

may  be  said  to  belong  to  Oriental  mu- 
sic as  a  whole  (and  the  Magyars  are 
Orientals),  the  songs  have  a  rhythmical 
peculiarity  which  is  a  direct  product  of 
the  Magyar  language.  This  peculiarity 
consists  of  a  figure  in  which  the  empha- 
sis is  shifted  from  the  strong  to  the 









The  Scotch 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

weak  part  by  making  the  first  take  only 
a  fraction  of  the  time  of  the  second, 

/I-  or     J-     J.  | 

In  Scottish  music  this  rhythm  also 
plays  a  prominent  part,  but  there  it 
falls  into  the  beginning  of  a  measure, 
whereas  in  Hungarian  it  forms  the  mid- 
dle or  end.  The  result  is  an  effect  of 
syncopation  which  is  peculiarly  force- 
ful. There  is  an  indubitable  Oriental 
relic  in  the  profuse  embellishments 
which  the  Gypsies  weave  around  the 
Hungarian  melodies  when  playing 
them  ;  but  the  fact  that  they  thrust  the 
same  embellishments  upon  Spanish  and 
Russian  music,  in  fact  upon  all  the  mu- 
sic which  they  play,  indicates  plainly 
enough  that  the  impulse  to  do  so  is  na* 
tive  to  them,  and  has  nothing  tc  do  with 
the  national  taste  of  the  coun;ries  for 
which  they  provide  music.  Liszt's  con- 
fessed purpose  in  writing  the  Hunga- 
rian Rhapsodies  was  to  create  what  he 
called  "  Gypsy  epics."  He  had  gath- 
ered a  large  number  of  the  melodies 
without  a  definite  purpose,  and  was 

At  a  Pianoforte  Recital 


pondering  what  to  do  with  them,  when 
it  occurred  to  him  that 

"  These  fragmentary,  scattered  melodies  were 
the  wandering,  floating,  nebulous  part  of  a  great 
whole,  that  they  fully  answered  the  conditions  for 
the  production  of  an  harmonious  unity  which  would 
comprehend  the  very  flower  of  their  essential  prop- 
erties, their  most  unique  beauties,"  and  "  might  be 
united  in  one  homogeneous  body,  a  complete  work, 
its  divisions  to  be  so  arranged  that  each  song  would 
form  at  once  a  whole  and  a  part,  which  might  be 
severed  from  the  rest  and  be  examined  and  enjoyed 
by  and  for  itself  ;  but  which  would,  none  the  less, 
belong  to  the  whole  through  the  close  affinity  of 


subject  matter,  the  similarity  of  its  inner  nature  and 
unity  in  development."  * 

The  basis  of  Liszt's  Rhapsodies  being 
thus  distinctively  national,  he  has  in  a 
manner  imitated  in  their  character  and 
tempo  the  dual  character  of  the  Hunga- 
rian national  dance,  the  Czardas,  which 
consists  of  two  movements,  a  Lassu,  or 
slow  movement,  followed  by  a  Friss. 
These  alternate  at  the  will  of  the 
dancer,  who  gives  a  sign  to  the  band 
when  he  wishes  to  change  from  one  to 
the  other. 



*  Weitzmann,  •'  Geschichte  des  Clavierspiels,"  p.  197. 


of  taste. 


At  the  Opera 

POPULAR  taste  in  respect  of  the 
opera  is  curiously  unstable.  It  is 
surprising  that  the  canons  of  judgment 
touching  it  have  such  feeble  and  fleeting 
authority  in  view  of  the  popularity  of 
the  art-form  and  the  despotic  hold  which 
it  has  had  on  fashion  for  two  centuries. 
No  form  of  popular  entertainment  is 
acclaimed  so  enthusiastically  as  a  new 
opera  by  an  admired  composer ;  none 
forgotten  so  quickly.  For  the  spoken 
drama  we  go  back  to  Shakespeare  in  the 
vernacular,  and,  on  occasions,  we  revive 
the  masterpieces  of  the  Attic  poets  who 
flourished  more  than  two  millenniums 
ago ;  but  for  opera  we  are  bounded  by 
less  than  a  century,  unless  occasional 
performances  of  Gluck's  "  Orfeo  "  and 
Mozart's  "  Figaro,"  "  Don  Giovanni/' 

At  the  Opera 

and  "  Magic  Flute  "  be  counted  as  sub- 
missions to  popular  demand,  which,  un- 
happily, we  know  they  are  not.  There 
is  no  one  who  has  attended  the  opera 
for  twenty-five  years  who  might  not  be- 
wail the  loss  of  operas  from  the  current 
list  which  appealed  to  his  younger  fancy 
as  works  of  real  loveliness.  In  the  sea- 
son of  1895-96  the  audiences  at  the  Met- 
ropolitan Opera  House  in  New  York 
heard  twenty-six  different  operas.  The 
oldest  were  Gluck's  "  Orfeo  "  and  Beet- 
hoven's "  Fidelio,"  which  had  a  single 
experimental  representation  each.  After 
them  in  seniority  came  Donizetti's  "  Lu- 
cia di  Lammermoor,"  which  is  sixty-one 
years  old,  and  has  overpassed  the  aver- 
age age  of  " immortal"  operas  by  from 
ten  to  twenty  years,  assuming  Dr.  Hans- 
lick's  calculation  to  be  correct. 

The  composers  who  wrote  operas  for 
the  generation  that  witnessed  Adelina 
Patti's  dtbut  at  the  Academy  of  Music, 
in  New  York,  were  Bellini,  Donizetti, 
Verdi,  and  Meyerbeer.  Thanks  to  his 
progressive  genius,  Verdi  is  still  alive 
on  the  stage,  though  nine-tenths  of  the 
operas  which  made  his  fame  and  fortune 



The  age  of 

tion of  the 



ence on 

An  un- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

have  already  sunk  into  oblivion  ;  Mey- 
erbeer, too,  is  still  a  more  or  less  potent 
factor  with  his  "  Huguenots,'*  which, 
like  "  Lucia,"  has  endured  from  ten  to 
twenty  years  longer  than  the  average 
"  immortal ; "  but  the  continued  exist- 
ence of  Bellini  and  Donizetti  seems  to 
be  as  closely  bound  up  with  that  of  two 
or  three  singers  as  was  Meleager's  life 
with  the  burning  billet  which  his  mother 
snatched  from  the  flames.  So  far  as  the 
people  of  London  and  New  York  are 
concerned  whether  or  not  they  shall 
hear  Donizetti  more,  rests  with  Mes- 
dames  Patti  and  Melba,  for  Donizetti 
spells  "  Lucia;  "  Bellini  pleads  piteously 
in  "  Sonnambula,"  but  only  Madame 
Nevada  will  play  the  mediator  between 
him  and  our  stiff-necked  generation. 

Opera  is  a  mixed  art-form  and  has 
ever  been,  and  perhaps  must  ever  be,  in 
a  state  of  flux,  subject  to  the  changes  of 
taste  in  music,  the  drama,  singing,  act- 
ing, and  even  politics  and  morals ;  but 
in  one  particular  the  public  has  shown 
no  change  for  a  century  and  a  half,  and 
it  is  not  quite  clear  why  this  has  not 
given  greater  fixity  to  popular  appre- 

At  the  Opera 

ciation.  The  people  of  to-day  are  as 
blithely  indifferent  to  the  fact  that  their 
operas  are  all  presented  in  a  foreign 
tongue  as  they  were  two  centuries  ago 
in  England.  The  influence  of  Wagner 
has  done  much  to  stimulate  a  serious 
attitude  toward  the  lyric  drama,  but 
this  is  seldom  found  outside  of  the  audi- 
ences in  attendance  on  German  repre- 
sentations. The  devotees  of  the  Latin 
exotic,  whether  it  blend  French  or  Italian 
(or  both,  as  is  the  rule  in  New  York  and 
London)  with  its  melodic  perfume,  enjoy 
the  music  and  ignore  the  words  with  the 
same  nonchalance  that  Addison  made 
merry  over.  Addison  proves  to  have 
been  a  poor  prophet.  The  great-grand- 
children of  his  contemporaries  are  not 
at  all  curious  to  know  "  why  their  fore- 
fathers used  to  sit  together  like  an  audi- 
ence of  foreigners  in  their  own  coun- 
try, and  to  hear  whole  plays  acted  be- 
fore them  in  a  tongue  which  they  did 
not  understand."  What  their  great- 
grandparents  did  was  also  done  by  their 
grandparents  and  their  parents,  and 
may  be  done  by  their  children,  grand- 
children, and  great-grandchildren  after 



ness of  the 




ence to  the 


Past  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

them,  unless  Englishmen  and  Americans 
shall  take  to  heart  the  lessons  which 
Wagner  essayed  to  teach  his  own  peo- 
ple. For  the  present,  though  we  have 
abolished  many  absurdities  which  grew 
out  of  a  conception  of  opera  that  was 
based  upon  the  simple,  sensuous  delight 
which  singing  gave,  the  charm  of  music 
is  still  supreme,  and  we  can  sit  out  an 
opera  without  giving  a  thought  to  the 
words  uttered  by  the  singers.  The 
popular  attitude  is  fairly  represented  by 
that  of  Boileau,  when  he  went  to  hear 
"  Atys  "  and  requested  the  box-keeper  to 
put  him  in  a  place  where  he  could  hear 
Lully's  music,  which  he  loved,  but  not 
Quinault's  words,  which  he  despised. 

It  is  interesting  to  note  that  in  this 
respect  the  condition  of  affairs  in  Lon- 
don in  the  early  part  of  the  eighteenth 
century,  which  seemed  so  monstrously 
diverting  to  Addison,  was  like  that  in 
Hamburg  in  the  latter  part  of  the  seven- 
teenth, and  in  New  York  at  the  end  of 
the  nineteenth.  There  were  three  years 
in  London  when  Italian  and  English 
were  mixed  in  the  operatic  representa- 

At  the  Opera 

"  The  king  or  hero  of  the  play  generally  spoke  in 
Italian  and  his  slaves  answered  him  in  English ;  the 
lover  frequently  made  his  court  and  gained  the 
heart  of  his  princess  in  a  language  which  she  did 
not  understand." 

At  length,  says  Addison,  the  audience 
got  tired  of  understanding  half  the 
opera,  "  and  to  ease  themselves  entirely 
of  the  fatigue  of  thinking,  so  ordered  it 
that  the  whole  opera  was  performed  in 
an  unknown  tongue." 

There  is  this  difference,  however,  be- 
tween New  York  and  London  and  Ham- 
burg at  the  period  referred  to :  while  the 
operatic  ragout  was  compounded  of  Ital- 
ian and  English  in  London,  Italian  and 
German  in  Hamburg,  the  ingredients 
here  are  Italian,  French,  and  German, 
with  no  admixture  of  the  vernacular. 
Strictly  speaking,  our  case  is  more  des- 
perate than  that  of  our  foreign  predeces- 
sors, for  the  development  of  the  lyric  dra- 
ma has  lifted  its  verbal  and  dramatic  ele- 
ments into  a  position  not  dreamed  of  two 
hundred  years  ago.  We  might  endure 
with  equanimity  to  hear  the  chorus  sing 

"  La  soupe  aux  choux  sefait  dans  la  mar  mite, 
Dans  la  mar  mite  on  fait  la  soupe  aux  choux  " 




of  texts. 

-Robert  k 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

at  the  beginning  of  "  Robert  le  Diable," 
as  tradition  says  used  to  be  done  in 
Paris,  but  we  surely  ought  to  rise  in 
rebellion  'when  the  chorus  of  guards 
change  their  muttered  comments  on 
Pizarro's  furious  aria  in  "Fidelio"  from 


Er  spricht  von  Tod  und  Wunde  I  " 
"  Er  spricht  vom  todten  Hunde  !  " 

as  is  a  prevalent  custom  among  the  ir- 
reverent choristers  of  Germany. 

Addison  confesses  that  he  was  often 
afraid  when  seeing  the  Italian  perform- 
ers "  chattering  in  the  vehemence  of  ac- 
tion," that  they  were  calling  the  audi- 
ence names  and  abusing  them  among 
themselves.  I  do  not  know  how  to 
measure  the  morals  and  manners  of  our 
Italian  singers  against  those  of  Addi- 
son'?  time,  but  I  do  know  that  many  of 
ihe  things  which  they  say  before  our 
very  faces  for  their  own  diversion  are 
not  complimentary  to  our  intelligence. 
I  hope  I  have  a  proper  respect  for  Mr. 
Gilbert's  "bashful  young  potato,"  but 
I  do  not  think  it  right  while  we  are 
sympathizing  with  the  gentle  passion  of 

At  the  Opera 

Siebel  to  have  his  representative  bring 
an  offering  of  flowers  and,  looking  us 
full  in  the  face,  sing : 

"  Le  patate  d'amor, 
O  carifior  !  " 

It  isn't  respectful,  and  it  enables  the 
cynics  of  to-day  to  say,  with  the  poetas- 
ters and  fiddlers  of  Addison's  day,  that 
nothing  is  capable  of  being  well  set  to 
music  that  is  not  nonsense.  Operatic 
words  were  once  merely  stalking-horses 
for  tunes,  but  that  day  is  past.  We  used 
to  smile  at  Brignoli's  "Ah  si!  ah  si!  ah 
si!"  which  did  service  for  any  text  in 
high  passages ;  but  if  a  composer  should, 
for  the  accommodation  of  his  music, 
change  the  wording  of  the  creed  into 
"  Credo ,  non  credo,  non  credo  in  unum 
Deum"  as  Porpora  once  did,  we  should 
all  cry  out  for  his  excommunication. 

As  an  art-form  the  opera  has  fre- 
quently been  criticised  as  an  absurdity, 
and  it  is  doubtless  owing  to  such  a  con- 
viction that  many  people  are  equally  in- 
different to  the  language  employed  and 
the  sentiments  embodied  in  the  words. 
Even  so  serious  a  writer  as  George 



1 Faust: 





words  un- 

"//  Tr ova- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

Hogarth  does  not  hesitate  in  his  "  Me- 
moirs of  the  Opera"  to  defend  this  care- 
less attitude. 

"  The  words  of  an  air  are  of  small  importance  to 
the  comprehension  of  the  business  of  the  piece,"  he 
says ;  "  they  merely  express  a  sentiment,  a  reflection, 
a  feeling ;  it  is  quite  enough  if  their  general  import 
is  known,  and  this  may  most  frequently  be  gathered 
from  the  situation,  aided  by  the  character  and  ex- 
pression of  the  music." 

I,  myself,  have  known  an  ardent  lover 
of  music  who  resolutely  refused  to 
look  into  a  libretto  because,  being  of  a 
lively  and  imaginative  temperament, 
she  preferred  to  construct  her  own 
plots  and  put  her  own  words  in  the 
mouths  of  the  singers.  Though  a  con- 
stant attendant  on  the  opera,  she  never 
knew  what  "  II  Trovatore  "  was  about, 
which,  perhaps,  is  not  so  surprising 
after  all.  Doubtless  the  play  which  she 
had  fashioned  in  her  own  mind  was 
more  comprehensible  than  Verdi's  med- 
ley of  burnt  children  and  asthmatic 
dance  rhythms.  Madame  de  Stae'l  went 
so  far  as  to  condemn  the  German  com- 
posers  because  they  "  follow  too  closely 
the  sense  of  the  words,"  whereas  the 

At  the  Opera 

Italians,  "  who  are  truly  the  musicians 
of  nature,  make  the  air  and  the  words 
conform  to  each  other  only  in  a  general 

Now  the  present  generation  has  wit- 
nessed a  revolution  in  operatic  ideas 
which  has  lifted  the  poetical  elements 
upon  a  plane  not  dreamed  of  when 
opera  was  merely  a  concert  in  cos- 
tume, and  it  is  no  longer  tolerable  that 
it  be  set  down  as  an  absurdity.  On 
the  contrary,  I  believe  that,  looked 
at  in  the  light  thrown  upon  it  by  the 
history  of  the  drama  and  the  origin  of 
music,  the  opera  is  completely  justified 
as  an  art-form,  and,  in  its  best  estate,  is 
an  entirely  reasonable  and  highly  ef- 
fective entertainment.  No  mean  place, 
surely,  should  be  given  in  the  estima- 
tion of  the  judicious  to  an  art-form 
which  aims  in  an  equal  degree  to  charm 
the  senses,  stimulate  the  emotions,  and 
persuade  the  reason.  This,  the  opera, 
or,  perhaps  I  would  better  say  the 
lyric  drama,  can  be  made  to  do  as  effi- 
ciently as  the  Greek  tragedy  did  it,  so 
far  as  the  differences  between  the  civili- 
zations of  ancient  Hellas  and  the  nine- 



The  opera 
defended  as 
an  art- 



The  classic 

Genesis  of 
the  Greek 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

teenth  century  will  permit.  The  Greek 
tragedy  was  the  original  opera,  a  fact 
which  literary  study  would  alone  have 
made  plain  even  if  it  were  not  clearly 
of  record  that  it  was  an  effort  to  restore 
the  ancient  plays  in  their  integrity  that 
gave  rise  to  the  Italian  opera  three  cen- 
turies ago. 

Every  school-boy  knows  now  that  the 
Hellenic  plays  were  simply  the  final 
evolution  of  the  dances  with  which  the 
people  of  Hellas  celebrated  their  re- 
ligious festivals.  At  the  rustic  Bac- 
chic feasts  of  the  early  Greeks  they 
sang  hymns  in  honor  of  the  wine-god, 
and  danced  on  goat- skins  filled  with 
wine.  He  who  held  his  footing  best  on 
the  treacherous  surface  carried  home 
the  wine  as  a  reward.  They  contended 
in  athletic  games  and  songs  for  a  goat, 
and  from  this  circumstance  scholars 
have  surmised  we  have  the  word  trag- 
edy, which  means  "  goat-song."  The 
choric  songs  and  dances  grew  in  variety 
and  beauty.  Finally,  somebody  (tradi- 
tion preserves  the  name  of  Thespis  as 
the  man)  conceived  the  idea  of  intro- 
ducing a  simple  dialogue  between  the 

At  the  Opera 

strophes  of  the  choric  song.  Generally 
this  dialogue  took  the  form  of  a  recital 
of  some  story  concerning  the  god  whose 
festival  was  celebrating.  Then  when 
the  dithyrambic  song  returned,  it  would 
either  continue  the  narrative  or  com- 
ment on  its  ethical  features. 

The  merry-makers,  or  worshippers,  as 
one  chooses  to  look  upon  them,  mani- 
fested their  enthusiasm  by  imitating  the 
appearance  as  well  as  the  actions  of  the 
god  and  his  votaries.  They  smeared 
themselves  with  wine-lees,  colored  their 
bodies  black  and  red,  put  on  masks, 
covered  themselves  with  the  skins  of 
beasts,  enacted  the  parts  of  nymphs, 
fauns,  and  satyrs,  those  creatures  of 
primitive  fancy,  half  men  and  half  goats, 
who  were  the  representatives  of  natural 
sensuality  untrammelled  by  convention- 

Next,  somebody  (Archilocus)  sought 
to  heighten  the  effect  of  the  story  or 
the  dialogue  by  consorting  it  with  in- 
strumental music ;  and  thus  we  find  the 
germ  of  what  musicians  —  not  news- 
paper writers — call  melodrama,  in  the 
very  early  stages  of  the  drama's  de- 



and  dress. 




Factors  in 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

velopment.  Gradually  these  simple 
rustic  entertainments  were  taken  in 
hand  by  the  poets  who  drew  on  the 
legendary  stores  of  the  people  for  sub- 
jects, branching  out  from  the  doings  of 
gods  to  the  doings  of  god-like  men,  the 
popular  heroes,  and  developed  out  of 
them  the  masterpieces  of  dramatic 
poetry  which  are  still  studied  with 
amazement,  admiration,  and  love. 

The  dramatic  factors  which  have  been 
mustered  in  this  outline  are  these : 

1.  The  choric   dance  and  song  with 
a  religious  purpose. 

2.  Recitation  and  dialogue. 

3.  Characterization  by  means  of  imi- 
tative  gestures — pantomime,   that   is — 
and  dress. 

4.  Instrumental  music  to  accompany 
the  song  and  also  the  action. 

All  these  have  been  retained  in  the 
modern  opera,  which  may  be  said 
to  differ  chiefly  from  its  ancient  model 
in  the  more  important  and  more  in- 
dependent part  which  music  plays 
in  it.  It  will  appear  later  in  our 
study  that  the  importance  and  inde- 
pendence achieved  by  one  of  the  ele- 

At  the  Opera 

ments  consorted  in  a  work  by  nature 
composite,  led  the  way  to  a  revolution 
having  for  its  object  a  restoration  of 
something  like  the  ancient  drama.  In 
this  ancient  drama  and  its  precursor,  the 
dithyrambic  song  and  dance,  is  found 
a  union  of  words  and  music  which 
scientific  investigation  proves  to  be  not 
only  entirely  natural  but  inevitable. 
In  a  general  way  most  people  are  in 
the  habit  of  speaking  of  music  as  the 
language  of  the  emotions.  The  ele- 
ments which  enter  into  vocal  music  (of 
necessity  the  earliest  form  of  music) 
are  unvolitional  products  which  we 
must  conceive  as  co-existent  with  the 
beginnings  of  human  life.  Do  they 
then  antedate  articulate  speech  ?  Did 
man  sing  before  he  spoke  ?  I  shall  not 
quarrel  with  anybody  who  chooses  so 
to  put  it. 

Think  a  moment  about  the  mechan- 
ism of  vocal  music.  Something  occurs 
to  stir  up  your  emotional  nature  —  a 
great  joy,  a  great  sorrow,  a  great  fear; 
instantly,  involuntarily,  in  spite  of  your 
efforts  to  prevent  it,  maybe,  muscular 
actions  set  in  which  proclaim  the  emo- 



Words  and 









How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tion  which  fills  you.  The  muscles  and 
organs  of  the  chest,  throat,  and  mouth 
contract  or  relax  in  obedience  to  the 
emotion.  You  utter  a  cry,  and  accord- 
ing to  the  state  of  feeling  which  you  are 
in,  that  cry  has  pitch,  quality  (timbre 
the  singing  teachers  call  it),  and  dy- 
namic intensity.  You  attempt  to  speak, 
and  no  matter  what  the  words  you 
utter,  the  emotional  drama  playing  on 
the  stage  of  your  heart  is  divulged. 

The  man  of  science  observes  the  phe- 
nomenon and  formulates  its  laws,  say- 
ing, for  instance,  as  Herbert  Spencer 
has  said :  "  All  feelings  are  muscular 
stimuli ;"  and,  "  Variations  of  voice  are 
the  physiological  results  of  variations 
of  feeling."  It  was  the  recognition  of 
this  extraordinary  intimacy  between 
the  voice  and  the  emotions  which 
brought  music  all  the  world  over  into 
the  service  of  religion,  and  provided 
the  phenomenon,  which  we  may  still 
observe  if  we  be  but  minded  to  do  so, 
that  mere  tones  have  sometimes  the 
sanctity  of  words,  and  must  as  little  be 
changed  as  ancient  hymns  and  prayers. 

The  end  of  the  sixteenth  century  saw 

At  the  Opera 

a  coterie  of  scholars,  art-lovers,  and 
amateur  musicians  in  Florence  who  de- 
sired to  re-establish  the  relationship 
which  they  knew  had  once  existed  be- 
tween music  and  the  drama.  The  re- 
vival of  learning  had  made  the  classic 
tragedy  dear  to  their  hearts.  They 
knew  that  in  the  olden  time  trag- 
edy, of  which  the  words  only  have 
come  down  to  us,  had  been  musical 
throughout.  In  their  efforts  to  bring 
about  an  intimacy  between  dramatic 
poetry  and  music  they  found  that  noth- 
ing could  be  done  with  the  polite  mu- 
sic of  their  time.  It  was  the  period  of 
highest  development  in  ecclesiastical 
music,  and  the  climax  of  artificiality. 
The  professional  musicians  to  whom 
they  turned  scorned  their  theories  and 
would  not  help  them  ;  so  they  fell  back 
on  their  own  resources.  They  cut  the 
Gordian  knot  and  invented  a  new  style 
of  music,  which  they  fancied  was  like 
that  used  by  the  ancients  in  their  stage- 
plays.  They  abolished  polyphony,  or 
contrapuntal  music,  in  everything  ex- 
cept their  choruses,  and  created  a  sort  of 
musical  declamation,  using  variations  of 



of  Italian 





The  music 
\  oftheFlor- 
!  entine  re- 


The  solo 
style,  har- 
mony, and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

pitch  and  harmonies  built  up  on  a  sim- 
ple bass  to  give  emotional  life  to  their 
words.  In  choosing  their  tones  they 
were  guided  by  observation  of  the  vocal 
inflections  produced  in  speech  under 
stress  of  feeling,  showing  thus  a  recog- 
nition of  the  law  which  Herbert  Spen- 
cer formulated  two  hundred  and  fifty 
years  later. 

The  music  which  these  men  pro- 
duced and  admired  sounds  to  us  mo- 
notonous in  the  extreme,  for  what  little 
melody  there  is  in  it  is  hi  the  choruses, 
which  they  failed  to  emancipate  from 
the  ecclesiastical  art,  and  which  for  that 
reason  were  as  stiff  and  inelastic  as  the 
music  which  in  their  controversies  with 
the  musicians  they  condemned  with 
vigor.  Yet  within  their  invention  there 
lay  an  entirely  new  world  of  music. 
Out  of  it  came  the  solo  style,  a  song 
with  instrumental  accompaniment  of  a 
kind  unknown  to  the  church  composers. 
Out  of  it,  too,  came  harmony  as  an  in- 
dependent factor  in  music  instead  of 
an  accident  of  the  simultaneous  flow  of  I 
melodies ;  and  out  of  it  came  declama- 
tion, which  drew  its  life  from  the  text. 

At  the  Opera 

The  recitatives  which  they  wrote  had 
the  fluency  of  spoken  words  and  were 
not  retarded  by  melodic  forms.  The 
new  style  did  not  accomplish  what  its 
creators  hoped  for,  but  it  gave  birth  to 
Italian  opera  and  emancipated  music  in 
a  large  measure  from  the  formalism  that 
dominated  it  so  long  as  it  belonged 
exclusively  to  the  composers  for  the 

Detailed  study  of  the  progress  of 
opera  from  the  first  efforts  of  the  Floren- 
tines to  Wagner's  dramas  would  carry 
us  too  far  afield  to  serve  the  purposes  of 
this  book.  My  aim  is  to  fix  the  attitude 
proper,  or  at  least  useful,  to  the  opera 
audience  of  to-day.  The  excursion  into 
history  which  I  have  made  has  but  the 
purpose  to  give  the  art-form  a  reputable 
standing  in  court,  and  to  explain  the 
motives  which  prompted  the  revolution 
accomplished  by  Wagner.  As  to  the 
elements  which  compose  an  opera,  only 
those  need  particular  attention  which 
are  illustrated  in  the  current  repertory. 
Unlike  the  opera  audiences  of  two 
centuries  ago,  we  are  not  required  to 
distinguish  carefully  between  the  vari- 



Fluent  rec- 

sors of        \ 



Old  oper- 
atic dis- 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

ous  styles  of  opera  in  order  to  under- 
stand  why  the  composer  adopted  a  par- 
ticular manner  and  certain  fixed  forms 
in  each.  The  old  distinctions  between 
Opera  seria,  Opera  buffa,  and  Opera  semi- 
seria  perplex  us  no  more.  Only  because 
of  the  perversion  of  the  time-honored 
Italian  epithet  buffa  by  the  French  mon- 
grel Ope'ra  bouffe  is  it  necessary  to  ex- 
plain that  the  classic  Opera  buffa  was  a 
polite  comedy,  whose  musical  integu- 
ment did  not  of  necessity  differ  from 
that  of  Opera  seria  except  in  this — that 
the  dialogue  was  carried  on  in  "  dry  " 
recitative  (recitativo  secco,  or  parlante]  in 
the  former,  and  a  more  measured  decla- 
mation with  orchestral  accompaniment 
(recitativo  stromentatd)  in  the  latter.  So 
far  as  subject-matter  was  concerned  the 
classic  distinction  between  tragedy  and 
comedy  served.  The  dry  recitative  was 
supported  by  chords  played  by  a  double- 
bass  and  harpsichord  or  pianoforte.  In 
London,  at  a  later  period,  for  reasons  of 
doubtful  validity,  these  chords  came  to 
be  played  on  a  double-bass  and  violon- 
cello, as  we  occasionally  hear  them  to- 

At  the  Opera 


Shakespeare  has  taught  us  to  accept 


an  infusion   of    the    comic  element    in 


plays    of    a    serious    cast,    but    Shake- 

speare was  an  innovator,  a  Romanticist, 

and,  measured   by   old    standards,   his 

dramas   are    irregular.       The    Italians, 

who  followed  classic  models,  for  a  rea- 

son amply  explained  by  the  genesis  of 

the  art-form,  rigorously  excluded  com- 

edy from  serious   operas,  except  as  in- 

termezzi,  until  they  hit   upon   a  third 

classification,  which   they  called  Opera 

Opera  sem- 

semiseria,   in    which   a   serious   subject 

iseria.           ' 

was    enlivened    with    comic    episodes. 

Our    dramatic   tastes   being  grounded 

in  Shakespeare,  we  should  be  inclined 

to  put  down   "  Don    Giovanni  "    as    a 

"  Don  Gio- 

musical  tragedy  ;   or,   haunted   by  the 


Italian  terminology,  as  Opera  semiseria  ; 

but  Mozart  calls  it  Opera  buffa,  more  in 

deference    to    the    librettist's   work,   I 

fancy,  than     his  own,  for,   as   I   have 

suggested    elsewhere,*  the    musician's 

*  "  But  no  real  student  can  have  studied  the  score  deep- 

ly, or  listened  discriminatingly  to  a  good  performance, 

without  discovering  that  there  is  a  tremendous  chasm  be- 

tween the  conventional  aims  of  the  Italian  poet  in  the 

book  of  the  opera  and  the  work  which  emerged  from  the 



An  Operc 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

imagination  in  the  fire  of  composition 
went  far  beyond  the  conventional  fancy 
of  the  librettist  in  the  finale  of  that  most 
wonderful  work. 

It  is  well  to  remember  that  "  Don 
Giovanni "  is  an  Opera  buffa  when 
watching  the  buffooneries  of  Leporello, 

composer's  profound  imagination.  Da  Ponte  contem- 
plated a  drammagiocoso  ;  Mozart  humored  him  until  his 
imagination  came  within  the  shadow  cast  before  by  the 
catastrophe,  and  then  he  transformed  the  poet's  comedy 
into  a  tragedy  of  crushing  power.  The  climax  of  Da 
Ponte's  ideal  is  reached  in  a  picture  of  the  dissolute 
Don  wrestling  in  idle  desperation  with  a  host  of  spec- 
tacular devils,  and  finally  disappearing  through  a  trap, 
while  fire  bursts  out  on  all  sides,  the  thunders  roll,  and 
Leporello  gazes  on  the  scene,  crouched  in  a  comic  atti- 
tude of  terror,  under  the  table.  Such  a  picture  satisfied 
the  tastes  of  the  public  of  his  time,  and  that  public 
found  nothing  incongruous  in  a  return  to  the  scene  im- 
mediately afterward  of  all  the  characters  save  the  repro- 
bate, who  had  gone  to  his  reward,  to  hear  a  description 
of  the  catastrophe  from  the  buffoon  under  the  table,  and 
platitudinously  to  moralize  that  the  perfidious  wretch, 
having  been  stored  away  safely  in  the  realm  of  Pluto 
and  Proserpine,  nothing  remained  for  them  to  do  ex- 
cept to  raise  their  voices  in  the  words  of  the  "  old 


41  Questo  I  ilfin  di  chi  fa  mal : 
E  deiperfidi  la  morte 
Alia  vita  i  sempre  ugual" 

"New  York  Musical  Season,  1889-90." 

At  the  Opera 

for  that  alone  justifies  them.  The 
French  have  Grand  Optra,  in  which 
everything  is  sung  to  orchestra  accom- 
paniment, there  being  neither  spoken 
dialogue  nor  dry  recitative,  and  Optra 
comique,  in  which  the  dialogue  is  spoken. 
The  latter  corresponds  with  the  honor- 
able German  term  Singspiel,  and  one  will 
not  go  far  astray  if  he  associate  both 
terms  with  the  English  operas  of  Wal- 
lace and  Balfe,  save  that  the  French  and 
Germans  have  generally  been  more  deft 
in  bridging  over  the  chasm  between 
speech  and  song  than  their  British 
rivals.  Optra  comique  has  another  char- 
acteristic, its  denouement  must  be  happy. 
Formerly  the  Theatre  national  de  V  Optra- 
Comique  in  Paris  was  devoted  exclu- 
sively to  Optra  comique  as  thus  defined 
(it  has  since  abolished  the  distinction 
and  Grand  Optra  may  be  heard  there 
now),  and,  therefore,  when  Ambroise 
Thomas  brought  forward  his  "  Mig- 
non,"  Goethe's  story  was  found  to  be 
changed  so  that  Mignon  recovered  and 
was  married  to  Wilhelm  Meister  at  the 
end.  The  Germans  are  seldom  pleased 
with  the  transformations  which  their 









opera  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

literary  masterpieces  are  forced  to  un- 
dergo at  the  hands  of  French  librettists. 
They  still  refuse  to  call  Gounod's 
"  Faust "  by  that  name  ;  if  you  wish  to 
hear  it  in  Germany  you  must  go  to  the 
theatre  when  "  Margarethe "  is  per- 
formed. Naturally  they  fell  indig- 
nantly afoul  of  "  Mignon,"  and  to  pla- 
cate them  we  have  a  second  finale,  a 
denouement  allemand,  provided  by  the 
authors,  in  which  Mignon  dies  as  she 

Of  course  the  Grosse  Oper  of  the 
Germans  is  the  French  Grand  Optra 
and  the  English  grand  opera — but  all 
the  English  terms  are  ambiguous,  and 
everything  that  is  done  in  Covent  Gar- 
den in  London  or  the  Metropolitan 
Opera  House  in  New  York  is  set  down 
as  "grand  opera,"  just  as  the  vilest  imi- 
tations of  the  French  vaudevilles  or  Eng- 
lish farces  with  music  are  called  "  comic 
operas."  In  its  best  estate,  say  in  the 
delightful  works  of  Gilbert  and  Sullivan, 
what  is  designated  as  comic  opera  ought 
to  be  called  operetta,  which  is  a  piece 
in  which  the  forms  of  grand  opera  are 
imitated,  or  travestied,  the  dialogue  is 

At  the  Opera 

spoken,  and  the  purpose  of  the  play  is  to 
satirize  a  popular  folly.  Only  in  method, 
agencies,  and  scope  does  such  an  oper- 
etta (the  examples  of  Gilbert  and  Sulli- 
van are  in  mind)  differ  from  comedy  in 
its  best  conception,  as  a  dramatic  com- 
position which  aims  to  "  chastise  manners 
with  a  smile  "  ("  Ridendo  castigat  mores"). 
Its  present  degeneracy,  as  illustrated  in 
the  Optra  bouffe  of  the  French  and  the 
concoctions  of  the  would-be  imitators 
of  Gilbert  and  Sullivan,  exemplifies  lit- 
tle else  than  a  pursuit  far  into  the  depths 
of  the  method  suggested  by  a  friend  to 
one  of  Lully's  imitators  who  had  ex- 
pressed a  fear  that  a  ballet  written,  but 
not  yet  performed,  would  fail.  "You 
must  lengthen  the  dances  and  shorten 
the  ladies'  skirts,"  he  said.  The  Ger- 
mans make  another  distinction  based 
on  the  subject  chosen  for  the  story. 
Spohr's  "  Jessonda,"  Weber's  "  Frei- 
schiitz,"  "  Oberon,"  and  "  Euryanthe," 
Marschner's  "  Vampyr,"  "  Templer  und 
Jiidin,"  and  "  Hans  Heiling  "  are  "  Ro- 
mantic" operas.  The  significance  of 
this  classification  in  operatic  literature 
may  be  learned  from  an  effort  which  I 








opera  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

have  made  in  another  chapter  to  dis- 
cuss the  terms  Classic  and  Romantic  as 
applied  to  music.  Briefly  stated,  the 
operas  mentioned  are  put  in  a  class  by 
themselves  (and  their  imitations  with 
them)  because  their  plots  were  drawn 
from  the  romantic  legends  of  the  Middle 
Ages,  in  which  the  institutions  of  chiv- 
alry, fairy  lore,  and  supernaturalism 
play  a  large  part. 

These  distinctions  we  meet  in  reading 
about  music.  As  I  have  intimated,  we  do 
not  concern  ourselves  much  with  them 
now.  In  New  York  and  London  the 
people  speak  of  Italian,  English,  and 
German  opera,  referring  generally  to 
the  language  employed  in  the  perform- 
ance. But  there  is  also  in  the  use  of 
the  terms  an  underlying  recognition  of 
differences  in  ideals  of  performance.  As 
all  operas  sung  in  the  regular  seasons  at 
Covent  Garden  and  the  Metropolitan 
Opera  House  are  popularly  spoken  of  as 
Italian  operas,  so  German  opera  popu- 
larly means  Wagner's  lyric  dramas,  in 
the  first  instance,  and  a  style  of  perform- 
ance  which  grew  out  of  Wagner's  in- 
fluence in  the  second.  As  compared 

At  the  Opera 

with  Italian  opera,  in  which  the  princi- 
pal singers  are  all  and  the  ensemble  noth- 
ing, it  means,  mayhap,  inferior  vocalists 
but  better  actors  in  the  principal  parts, 
a  superior  orchestra  and  chorus,  and  a 
more  conscientious  effort  on  the  part 
of  conductor,  stage  manager,  and  ar- 
tists, from  first  to  last,  to  lift  the  gen- 
eral effect  above  the  conventional  level 
which  has  prevailed  for  centuries  in  the 
Italian  opera  houses. 

In  terminology,  as  well  as  in  artistic 
aim,  Wagner's  lyric  dramas  round  out  a 
cycle  that  began  with  the  works  of  the 
Florentine  reformers  of  the  sixteenth 
century.  Wagner  called  his  later  operas 
Musikdramen,  wherefore  he  was  sound- 
ly abused  and  ridiculed  by  his  critics. 
When  the  Italian  opera  first  appeared 
it  was  called  Dramma  per  musica,  or 
Melodramma,  or  Tragedia  per  musica,  all 
of  which  terms  stand  in  Italian  for  the 
conception  that  Musikdrama  stands  for 
in  German.  The  new  thing  had  been 
in  existence  for  half  a  century,  and  was 
already  on  the  road  to  the  degraded 
level  on  which  we  shall  find  it  when  we 
come  to  the  subject  of  operatic  singing, 



Wagner's  , 
"Musik-  \ 
drama. " 



Italian  ter- 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

before  it  came  to  be  called  Opera  in 
musica,  of  which  "  opera  "  is  an  abbrevi- 
ation. Now  it  is  to  be  observed  that 
the  composers  of  all  countries,  having 
been  taught  to  believe  that  the  dra- 
matic contents  of  an  opera  have  some 
significance,  are  abandoning  the  vague 
term  "  opera  "  and  following  Wagner  in 
his  adoption  of  the  principles  underly- 
ing the  original  terminology.  Verdi 
called  his  "  Aida "  an  Opera  in  quattro 
atti,  but  his  "  Otello  "  he  designated 
a  lyric  drama  (Dramma  lirico),  his 
"  Falstaff "  a  lyric  comedy  (Commedia 
lirica),  and  his  example  is  followed 
by  the  younger  Italian  composers, 
such  as  Mascagni,  Leoncavallo,  and 

In  the  majority  of  the  operas  of  the 
current  list  the  vocal  element  illustrates 
an  amalgamation  of  the  archaic  recita- 
tive and  aria.  The  dry  form  of  rec- 
itative is  met  with  now  only  in  a  few 
of  the  operas  which  date  back  to  the 
last  century  or  the  early  years  of  the 
present.  "  Le  Nozze  di  Figaro,"  "  Don 
Giovanni,"  and  "  II  Barbiere  di  Siviglia" 
are  the  most  familiar  works  in  which  it 

At  the  Opera 

is  employed,  and  in  the  second  of  these 
it  is  used  only  by  the  bearers  of  the 
comedy  element.  The  dissolute  Don 
chatters  glibly  in  it  with  Zerlina,  but 
when  Donna  Anna  and  Don  Ottavio 
converse,  it  is  in  the  recitative  stromen- 

In  both  forms  recitative  is  the  vehicle 
for  promoting  the  action  of  the  play, 
preparing  its  incidents,  and  paving  the 
way  for  the  situations  and  emotional 
states  which  are  exploited,  promul- 
gated, and  dwelt  upon  in  the  set  music 
pieces.  Its  purpose  is  to  maintain  the 
play  in  an  artificial  atmosphere,  so  that 
the  transition  from  dialogue  to  song 
may  not  be  so  abrupt  as  to  disturb  the 
mood  of  the  listener.  Of  all  the  factors 
in  an  opera,  the  dry  recitative  is  the 
most  monotonous.  It  is  not  music,  but 
speech  about  to  break  into  music.  Un- 
less one  is  familiar  with  Italian  and 
desirous  of  following  the  conversation, 
which  we  have  been  often  told  is  not 
necessary  to  the  enjoyment  of  an  opera, 
its  everlasting  use  of  stereotyped  falls 
and  intervallic  turns,  coupled  with  the 
strumming  of  arpeggioed  cadences  on 



The  object 
of  recita- 



of  the 

What  it 
can  do. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

the  pianoforte  (or  worse,  double-bass 
and  violoncello),  makes  it  insufferably 
wearisome  to  the  listener.  Its  expres- 
sion is  fleeting — only  for  the  moment. 
It  lacks  the  sustained  tones  and  struct- 
ural symmetry  essential  to  melody,  and 
therefore  it  cannot  sustain  a  mood.  It 
makes  efficient  use  of  only  one  of  the 
fundamental  factors  of  vocal  music — 
variety  of  pitch — and  that  in  a  rudi- 
mentary way.  It  is  specifically  a  prod- 
uct of  the  Italian  language,  and  best 
adapted  to  comedy  in  that  language. 
Spoken  with  the  vivacity  native  to  it 
in  the  drama,  dry  recitative  is  an  im- 
possibility in  English.  It  is  only  in  the 
more  measured  and  sober  gait  proper  to 
oratorio  that  we  can  listen  to  it  in  the 
vernacular  without  thought  of  incon- 
gruity. Yet  it  may  be  made  most  ad- 
mirably to  preserve  the  characteristics 
of  conversation,  and  even  illustrate 
Spencer's  theory  of  the  origin  of  music. 
Witness  the  following  brief  example 
from  "  Don  Giovanni,"  in  which  the  vi- 
vacity of  the  master  is  admirably  con- 
trasted with  the  lumpishness  of  his  ser- 

At  the  Opera 

Sempre  totto  voce, 



e-po-rel  -  lo,     o   -  ve    seif       Son  qui  per 
Le  •  po  -  rel  -  lo,  where  are  you  ?       I'm  here  and 

D.  G. 


:p — p- 


di*  -  gra  -  zi  -  a!  e       vo  -  if         Son-qui.         Chi  I 

more'  s  the  pit-y!         and    you,  Sir?       Here  too.        Who's 




nor  - 




o,  a 

»ec  - 





been  killed, 


or  the 






?nan  -  da    da      bes  •  tia  ? 
ques  -  tion,  you    boo  -  byl 

il      vec  -  chio.  Bra  -  vo  ! 
the    old    one.  Bra  -  vo! 

Of  course  it  is  left  to  the  intelligence 
and  taste  of  the  singers  to  bring  out  the 
effects  in  a  recitative,  but  in  this  speci- 
men it  ought  to  be  noted  how  slug- 
gishly the  disgruntled  Leporello  replies 
to  the  brisk  question  of  Don  Giovanni, 
how  correct  is  the  rhetorical  pause 
in  "  you,  or  the  old  one  ?  "  and  the 
greater  sobriety  which  comes  over  the 
manner  of  the  Don  as  he  thinks  of  the 
murder  just  committed,  and  replies, 
"the  old  one." 

I  am  strongly  inclined  to  the   belief 



An  exam- 
ple from 

Its  charac- 



of  some  sort 

The  speak- 
ing voice 
in  opera. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

that  in  one  form  or  the  other,  preferably 
the  accompanied,  recitative  is  a  neces- 
sary integer  in  the  operatic  sum.  That 
it  is  possible  to  accustom  one's  self  to 
the  change  alternately  from  speech  to 
song  we  know  from  the  experiences 
made  with  German,  French,  and  Eng- 
lish operas,  but  these  were  not  true 
lyric  dramas,  but  dramas  with  inci- 
dental music.  To  be  a  real  lyric  drama 
an  opera  ought  to  be  musical  through- 
out, the  voice  being  maintained  from 
beginning  to  end  on  an  exalted  plane. 
The  tendency  to  drop  into  the  speaking 
voice  for  the  sake  of  dramatic  effect 
shown  by  some  tragic  singers  does  not 
seem  to  me  commendable.  Wagner 
relates  with  enthusiasm  how  Madame 
Schroeder-Devrient  in  "  Fidelio  "  was 
wont  to  give  supreme  emphasis  to  the 
phrase  immediately  preceding  the 
trumpet  signal  in  the  dungeon  scene 
("Another  step,  and  you  are  dead!") 
by  speaking  the  last  word  "  with  an 
awful  accent  of  despair."  He  then 
comments : 

"  The  indescribable  effect  of  this  manifested  itself 
to  all  like  an  agonizing  plunge  from  one  sphere  into 

At  the  Opera 

another,  and  its  sublimity  consisted  in  this,  that 
with  lightning  quickness  a  glimpse  was  given  to  us 
of  the  nature  of  both  spheres,  of  which  one  was  the 
ideal,  the  other  the  real." 

I  have  heard  a  similar  effect  produced 
by  Herr  Niemann  and  Madame  Leh- 
mann,  but  could  not  convince  myself 
that  it  was  not  an  extremely  venture- 
some experiment.  Madame  Schroeder- 
Devrient  saw  the  beginning  of  the 
modern  methods  of  dramatic  expres- 
sion, and  it  is  easy  to  believe  that  a 
sudden  change  like  that  so  well  de- 
fined by  Wagner,  made  with  her  sweep- 
ing voice  and  accompanied  by  her 
plastic  and  powerful  acting,  was  really 
thrilling;  but,  I  fancy,  nevertheless, 
that  only  Beethoven  and  the  intensity  of 
feeling  which  pervades  the  scene  saved 
the  audience  from  a  disturbing  sense  of 
the  incongruity  of  the  performance. 

The  development  which  has  taken 
place  in  the  recitative  has  not  only  as- 
sisted in  elevating  opera  to  the  dignity 
of  a  lyric  drama  by  saving  us  from  al- 
ternate contemplation  of  the  two  spheres 
of  ideality  and  reality,  but  has  also 
made  the  factor  itself  an  eloquent  vehi- 








The  dia- 
logue of  the 

An  ex- 
ample from 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

cle  of  dramatic  expression.  Save  that 
it  had  to  forego  the  help  of  the  instru- 
ments beyond  a  mere  harmonic  sup- 
port, the  stilo  rappresentativo,  or  musica 
parlante,  as  the  Florentines  called  their 
musical  dialogue,  approached  the  sus- 
tained recitative  which  we  hear  in  the 
oratorio  and  grand  opera  more  closely 
than  it  did  the  recitativo  secco.  Ever 
and  anon,  already  in  the  earliest  works 
(the  "  Eurydice  "  of  Rinuccini  as  com- 
posed by  both  Peri  and  Caccini)  there 
are  passages  which  sound  like  rudimen- 
tary melodies,  but  are  charged  with 
vital  dramatic  expression.  Note  the 
following  phrase  from  Orpheus' s  mono- 
logue on  being  left  in  the  infernal  re- 
gions by  Venus,  from  Peri's  opera,  per- 
formed A.D.  1600,  in  honor  of  the 
marriage  of  Maria  de'  Medici  to  Henry 
IV.  of  France : 

voi,    deh    per  pie  -  to,   del  mio  mar  -ti   •    re 

Che   nel  mi  -  se-ro  cor    di  -  mo    -    rae  -  ter  -  no, 

La  -  cri  -  ma  -  te  al  mio  pian-to       om  •  bre  d'in-fer     -    not 

At  the  Opera 

Out  of  this  style  there  grew  within  a 
decade  something  very  near  the  arioso, 
and  for  all  the  purposes  of  our  argu- 
ment we  may  accept  the  melodic  de- 
vices by  which  Wagner  carries  on  the 
dialogue  of  his  operas  as  an  uncircum- 
scribed  arioso  superimposed  upon  a 
foundation  of  orchestral  harmony  ;  for 
example,  Lokengrirfs  address  to  the 
swan,  Elsas  account  of  her  dream.  The 
greater  melodiousness  of  the  recitative 
stromentato,  and  the  aid  of  the  orchestra 
when  it  began  to  assert  itself  as  a  factor 
of  independent  value,  soon  enabled  this 
form  of  musical  conversation  to  become 
a  reflector  of  the  changing  moods  and 
passions  of  the  play,  and  thus  the  value 
of  the  aria,  whether  considered  as  a 
solo,  or  in  its  composite  form  as  duet, 
trio,  quartet,  or  ensemble,  was  lessened. 
The  growth  of  the  accompanied  recita- 
tive naturally  brought  with  it  emanci- 
pation from  the  tyranny  of  the  classical 
aria.  Wagner's  reform  had  nothing  to 
do  with  that  emancipation,  which  had 
been  accomplished  before  him,  but 
went,  as  we  shall  see  presently,  to  a 
liberation  of  the  composers  from  all 



ment of  the 

The  aria 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 


the  formal   dams  which   had    clogged 


the   united   flow   of  action  and  music. 

We  should,  however,  even  while  admir- 

ing the  achievements  of  modern  com- 

posers in  blending  these  elements  (and 

I  know  of  no  more  striking  illustration 

than  the  scene  of  the  fat  knight's  dis- 

comfiture  in   Ford's    house   in   Verdi's 

"  Falstaff  ")  bear  in  mind  that  while  we 

may  dream,  of  perfect  union   between 

words  and  music,  it  is  not  always  possi- 

Music and 

ble  that  action  and  music  shall  go  hand 


in  hand.     Let  me  repeat  what  once  I 

wrote  in  a  review  of  Cornelius's  opera, 

"  Der  Barbier  von  Bagdad  :  "  * 

"  After  all,  of  the  constituents  of  an  opera,  action, 

at  least  that  form  of  it  usually  called  incident,  is 

most  easily  spared.     Progress  in  feeling,  develop- 

ment of  the  emotional  element,  is  indeed  essential 


to  variety  of  musical  utterance,  but  nevertheless  all 

great  operas  have  demonstrated  that  music  is  more 

potent  and  eloquent  when  proclaiming  an   emo- 

tional state  than  while  seeking  to  depict  progress 

toward  such  a  state.     Even  in  the  dramas  of  Wag- 

ner the  culminating  musical    moments    are  pre- 

dominantly lyrical,  as  witness    the  love  -duet  in 

'[Tristan/    the    close  of    '  Das    Rheingold,'   Steg- 

*  "  Review  of  the  New  York  Musical  Season,  1889- 

9°>"  P-  75- 

At  the  Opera 

mund's  song,  the  love-duet,  and  Wotan's  farewell 
in  '  Die  Walkiire,'  the  forest  scene  and  final  duet 
in  '  Siegfried,'  and  the  death  of  Siegfried  in 
'  Die  Gotterdammerung.'  It  is  in  the  nature  of 
music  that  this  should  be  so.  For  the  drama 
which  plays  on  the  stage  of  the  heart,  music  is  a 
more  truthful  language  than  speech ;  but  it  can 
stimulate  movement  and  prepare  the  mind  for  an 
incident  better  than  it  can  accompany  movement 
and  incident.  Yet  music  that  has  a  high  degree  of 
emotional  expressiveness,  by  diverting  attention 
from  externals  to  the  play  of  passion  within  the 
breasts  of  the  persons  can  sometimes  make  us  for- 
get the  paucity  of  incident  in  a  play.  '  Tristan 
und  Isolde  '  is  a  case  in  point.  Practically,  its  out- 
ward action  is  summed  up  in  each  of  its  three  acts 
by  the  same  words :  Preparation  for  a  meeting  of 
the  ill-starred  lovers;  the  meeting.  What  is  out- 
side of  this  is  mere  detail;  yet  the  effect  of  the 
tragedy  upon  a  listener  is  that  of  a  play  surcharged 
with  pregnant  occurrence.  It  is  the  subtle  al- 
chemy of  music  that  transmutes  the  psychological 
action  of  the  tragedy  into  dramatic  incident." 

For  those  who  hold  such  a  view  with 
me  it  will  be  impossible  to  condemn 
pieces  of  set  forms  in  the  lyric  drama. 
Wagner  still  represents  his  art -work 
alone,  but  in  the  influence  which  he 
exerted  upon  contemporaneous  com- 
posers in  Italy  and  France,  as  well  as 



How  music 
can  replace 

Set  forms 
not  to  be 




His  or- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

Germany,  he  is  quite  as  significant 
a  figure  as  he  is  as  the  creator  of  the 
Musikdrama.  The  operas  which  are  most 
popular  in  our  Italian  and  French  reper- 
tories are  those  which  benefited  by  the 
liberation  from  formalism  and  the  ex- 
altation of  the  dramatic  idea  which  he 
preached  and  exemplified — such  works 
as  Gounod's  "  Faust,"  Verdi's  "  Aida  " 
and  "  Otello,"  and  Bizet's  "  Carmen." 
With  that  emancipation  there  came,  as 
was  inevitable,  new  conceptions  of  the 
province  of  dramatic  singing  as  well  as 
new  convictions  touching  the  mission 
of  the  orchestra.  The  instruments  in 
Wagner's  latter-day  works  are  quite 
as  much  as  the  singing  actors  the  ex- 
positors of  the  dramatic  idea,  and  in 
the  works  of  the  other  men  whom  I 
have  mentioned  they  speak  a  language 
which  a  century  ago  was  known 
only  to  the  orchestras  of  Gluck  and 
Mozart  with  their  comparatively  lim- 
ited, yet  eloquent,  vocabulary.  Coupled 
with  praise  for  the  wonderful  art  of 
Mesdames  Patti  and  Melba  (and  I  am 
glad  to  have  lived  in  their  generation, 
though  they  do  not  represent  my  ideal 

At  the  Opera 

in  dramatic  singing),  we  are  accustomed 
to  hear  lamentations  over  the  decay  of 
singing.  I  have  intoned  such  jeremiads 
myself,  and  I  do  not  believe  that  music 
is  suffering  from  a  greater  want  to-day 
than  that  of  a  more  thorough  train- 
ing for  singers.  I  marvel  when  I  read 
that  Senesino  sang  cadences  of  fifty 
seconds*  duration ;  that  Ferri  with  a 
single  breath  could  trill  upon  each  note 
of  two  octaves,  ascending  and  descend- 
ing, and  that  La  Bastardella's  art  was 
equal  to  a  perfect  performance  (perfect 
in  the  conception  of  her  day)  of  a  flour- 
ish like  this : 




La  Bastar- 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 


of  the  op  era 
a  century 
and  a  half 

I  marvel,  I  say,  at  the  skill,  the  gifts, 
and  the  training  which  could  accom- 
plish such  feats,  but  I  would  not  have 
them  back  again  if  they  were  to  be  em- 
ployed in  the  old  service.  When  Sene- 
sino,  Farinelli,  Sassarelli,  Ferri,  and  their 
tribe  dominated  the  stage,  it  strutted 
with  sexless  Agamemnons  and  Caesars. 
Telemachus,  Darius,  Nero,  Cato,  Alex- 
ander, Scipio,  and  Hannibal  ran  around 
on  the  boards  as  languishing  lovers, 
clad  in  humiliating  disguises,  singing 
woful  arias  to  their  mistress's  eye- 
brows— arias  full  of  trills  and  scales  and 
florid  ornaments,  but  void  of  feeling  as 
a  problem  in  Euclid.  Thanks  very 
largely  to  German  influences,  the  opera 

At  the  Opera 

is  returning  to  its  original  purposes. 
Music  is  again  become  a  means  of  dra- 
matic expression,  and  the  singers  who 
appeal  to  us  most  powerfully  are  those 
who  are  best  able  to  make  song  subserve 
that  purpose,  and  who  to  that  end  give 
to  dramatic  truthfulness,  to  effective 
elocution,  and  to  action  the  attention 
which  mere  voice  and  beautiful  utter- 
ance received  in  the  period  which  is 
called  the  Golden  Age  of  singing,  but 
which  was  the  Leaden  Age  of  the  lyric 

For  seventy  years  the  people  of  New 
York,  scarcely  less  favored  than  those 
of  London,  have  heard  nearly  all  the 
great  singers  of  Europe.  Let  me  talk 
about  some  of  them,  for  I  am  trying  to 
establish  some  ground  on  which  my 
readers  may  stand  when  they  try  to 
form  an  estimate  of  the  singing  which 
they  are  privileged  to  hear  in  the  opera 
houses  of  to-day.  Madame  Malibran 
was  a  member  of  the  first  Italian  com- 
pany that  ever  sang  here.'  Madame 
Cinti-Damoreau  came  in  1844,  Bosio  in 
1849,  Jenny  Lind  in  1850,  Sontag  in 
1853,  Grisi  in  1854,  La  Grange  in  1855, 



Music  and 



heard  in 
New  York. 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

Frezzolini  in  1857,  Piccolomini  in  1858, 
Nilsson  in  1870,  Lucca  in  1872,  Titiens  in 
1876,  Gerster  in  1878,  and  Sembrich  in 
1883.  I  omit  the  singers  of  the  German 
opera  as  belonging  to  a  different  cate- 
gory. Adelina  Patti  was  always  with 
us  until  she  made  her  European  debut 
in  1 86 1,  and  remained  abroad  twenty 
years.  Of  the  men  who  were  the  ar- 
tistic associates  of  these  prime  donne, 
mention  may  be  made  of  Mario,  Bene- 
detti,  Corsi,  Salvi,  Ronconi,  Formes, 
Brignoli,  Amadeo,  Coletti,  and  Cam- 
panini,  none  of  whom,  excepting  Mario, 
was  of  first-class  importance  compared 
with  the  women  singers. 

Nearly  all  of  these  singers,  even  those 
still  living  and  remembered  by  the 
younger  generation  of  to-day,  exploited 
their  gifts  in  the  operas  of  Rossini,  Bel- 
lini, Donizetti,  the  early  Verdi,  and  Mey- 
erbeer. Grisi  was  acclaimed  a  great 
dramatic  singer,  and  it  is  told  of  her 
that  once  in  "  Norma  "  she  frightened 
the  tenor  who  sang  the  part  of  Pollio  by 
the  fury  of  her  acting.  But  measured 
by  the  standards  of  to-day,  say  that  set 
by  Calve's  Carmen,  it  must  have  been  a 

At  the  Opera 

simple  age  that  could  be  impressed  by  CHAP. 
the  tragic  power  of  anyone  acting  the 
part  of  Bellini's  Druidical  priestess. 
The  surmise  is  strengthened  by  the  cir- 
cumstance that  Madame  Grisi  created 
a  sensation  in  "  II  Trovatore  "  by  show- 
ing signs  of  agitation  in  the  tower  scene, 
walking  about  the  stage  during  Man- 
ricos  "  Ah  !  che  la  morte  ognora"  as  if  she 
would  fain  discover  the  part  of  the  castle 
where  her  lover  was  imprisoned.  The 
chief  charm  of  Jenny  Lind  in  the  mem-  Jenny 
ory  of  the  older  generation  is  the  pa- 
thos with  which  she  sang  simple  songs. 
Mendelssohn  esteemed  her  greatly  as  a 
woman  and  artist,  but  he  is  quoted  as 
once  remarking  to  Chorley :  "  I  cannot 
think  why  she  always  prefers  to  be  in 
a  bad  theatre."  Moscheles,  recording 
his  impressions  of  her  in  Meyerbeer's 
"  Camp  of  Silesia  "  (now  "  L'Etoile  du 
Nord"),  reached  the  climax  of  his  praise 
in  the  words :  "  Her  song  with  the  two 
concertante  flutes  is  perhaps  the  most 
incredible  feat  in  the  way  of  bravura 
singing  that  can  possibly  be  heard." 
She  was  credited,  too,  with  fine  powers 
as  an  actress;  and  that  she  possessed 






How  to  Listen  to  Music 

them  can  easily  be  believed,  for  few  of 
the  singers  whom  I  have  mentioned  had 
so  early  and  intimate  an  association  with 
the  theatre  as  she.  Her  repugnance  to 
it  in  later  life  she  attributed  to  a  preju- 
dice inherited  from  her  mother.  A  vastly 
different  heritage  is  disclosed  by  Ma- 
dame Lehmann's  devotion  to  the  drama, 
a  devotion  almost  akin  to  religion.  I  have 
known  her  to  go  into  the  scene-room 
of  the  Metropolitan  Opera  House  in 
New  York  and  search  for  mimic  stumps 
and  rocks  with  which  to  fit  out  a  scene 
in  "  Siegfried,"  in  which  she  was  not 
even  to  appear.  That,  like  her  super- 
human work  at  rehearsals,  was  "  for  the 
good  of  the  cause,"  as  she  expressed  it. 
Most  amiable  are  the  memories  that 
cluster  around  the  name  of  Sontag, 
whose  career  came  to  a  grievous  close 
by  her  sudden  death  in  Mexico  in  1854. 
She  was  a  German,  and  the  early  part 
of  her  artistic  life  was  influenced  by 
German  ideals,  but  it  is  said  that  only 
in  the  music  of  Mozart  and  Weber, 
which  aroused  in  her  strong  national 
emotion,  did  she  sing  dramatically. 
For  the  rest  she  used  her  light  voice, 

At  the  Opera 

which  had  an  extraordinary  range,  brill- 
iancy, and  flexibility,  very  much  as 
Patti  and  Melba  use  their  voices  to-day 
— in  mere  unfeeling  vocal  display. 

"  She  had  an  extensive  soprano  voice,"  says  Ho- 
garth ;  "  not  remarkable  for  power,  but  clear,  brill- 
iant, and  singularly  flexible ;  a  quality  which  seems 
to  have  led  her  (unlike  most  German  singers  in 
general)  to  cultivate  the  most  florid  style,  and  even 
to  follow  the  bad  example  set  by  Catalani,  of  seek- 
ing to  convert  her  voice  into  an  instrument,  and  to 
astonish  the  public  by  executing  the  violin  variations 
on  Rode's  air  and  other  things  of  that  stamp." 

Madame  La  Grange  had  a  voice  of 
wide  compass,  which  enabled  her  to  sing 
contralto  roles  as  well  as  soprano,  but  I 
have  never  heard  her  dramatic  powers 
praised.  As  for  Piccolomini,  read  of 
her  where  you  will,  you  shall  find  that 
she  was  "  charming."  She  was  lovely 
to  look  upon,  and  her  acting  in  soubrette 
parts  was  fascinating.  Until  Melba 
came  Patti  was  for  thirty  years  peer- 
less as  a  mere  vocalist.  She  belongs, 
as  did  Piccolomini  and  Sontag,  to  the 
comic  genre;  so  did  Sembrich  and 
Gerster,  the  latter  of  whom  never  knew 
it.  I  well  remember  how  indignant  she 



La  Grange. 






Lucca  and 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

became  on  one  occasion,  in  her  first 
American  season,  at  a  criticism  which 
I  wrote  of  her  Amina  in  "  La  Sonnam- 
bula,"  a  performance  which  remains 
among-  my  loveliest  and  most  fragrant 
recollections.  I  had  made  use  of  Cata- 
lani's  remark  concerning  Sontag  :  "  Son 
genre  est  petit,  mats  elle  est  unique  dans 
son  genre"  and  applied  it  to  her  style. 
She  almost  flew  into  a  passion.  "  Mon 
genre  est  grand!"  said  she,  over  and 
over  again,  while  Dr.  Gardini,  her  hus- 
band, tried  to  pacify  her.  "  Come  to 
see  my  Marguerite  next  season."  Now, 
Gounod's  Marguerite  does  not  quite  be- 
long to  the  heroic  rdles,  though  we  can 
all  remember  how  Lucca  thrilled  us  by 
her  intensity  of  action  as  well  as  of 
song,  and  how  Madame  Nilsson  sent 
the  blood  out  of  our  cheeks,  though  she 
did  stride  through  the  opera  like  a  com- 
bination of  the  grande  dame  and  Ary 
Scheffer's  spirituelle  pictures ;  but  such 
as  it  is,  Madame  Gerster  achieved  a 
success  of  interest  only,  and  that  be- 
cause of  her  strivings  for  originality. 
Sembrich  and  Gerster,  when  they  were 
first  heard  in  New  York,  had  as  much 

At  the  Opera 

execution  as  Melba  or  Nilsson ;  but 
their  voices  had  less  emotional  power 
than  that  of  the  latter,  and  less  beauty 
than  that  of  the  former — beauty  of  the 
kind  that  might  be  called  classic,  since 
it  is  in  no  way  dependent  on  feeling. 

Patti,  Lucca,  Nilsson,  and  Gerster 
sang  in  the  operas  in  which  Melba  and 
Eames  sing  to-day,  and  though  the 
standard  of  judgment  has  been  changed 
in  the  last  twenty -five  years  by  the 
growth  of  German  ideals,  I  can  find  no 
growth  of  potency  in  the  performances 
of  the  representative  women  of  Italian 
and  French  opera,  except  in  the  case  of 
Madame  Calv6.  For  the  development 
of  dramatic  ideals  we  must  look  to  the 
singers  of  German  affiliations  or  ante- 
cedents, Mesdames  Materna,  Lehmann, 
Sucher,  and  Nordica.  As  for  the  men 
of  yesterday  and  to-day,  no  lover,  I  am 
sure,  of  the  real  lyric  drama  would 
give  the  declamatory  warmth  and 
gracefulness  of  pose  and  action  which 
mark  the  performances  of  M.  Jean  de 
Reszke  for  a  hundred  of  the  high  notes 
of  Mario  (for  one  of  which,  we  are  told, 
he  was  wont  to  reserve  his  powers 



Melba  and 



Jean  de 



Reszke  and 

Wagner  s 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

all  evening),  were  they  never  so  lovely. 
Neither  does  the  fine,  resonant,  equable 
voice  of  Edouard  de  Reszke  or  the 
finished  style  of  Plan£on  leave  us  with 
curious  longings  touching  the  voices 
and  manners  of  Lablache  and  Formes. 
Other  times,  other  manners,  in  music 
as  in  everything  else.  The  great  sing- 
ers of  to-day  are  those  who  appeal  to 
the  taste  of  to-dayf  and  that  taste  differs, 
as  the  clothes  which  we  wear  differ, 
from  the  style  in  vogue  in  the  days  of 
our  ancestors. 

A  great  deal  of  confusion  has  crept 
into  the  public  mind  concerning  Wag- 
ner and  his  works  by  the  failure  to 
differentiate  between  his  earlier  and 
later  creations.  No  injustice  is  done 
the  composer  by  looking  upon  his 
"  Flying  Dutchman,"  "  Tannhauser," 
and  "  Lohengrin  "  as  operas.  We  find 
the  dramatic  element  lifted  into  noble 
prominence  in  "  Tannhauser,"  and  ad- 
mirable freedom  in  the  handling  of  the 
musical  factors  in  "  Lohengrin,"  but 
they  .must,  nevertheless,  be  listened  to 
as  one  would  listen  to  the  operas  of 
Weber,  Marschner,  or  Meyerbeer. 

At  the  Opera 

They  are,  in  fact,  much  nearer  to  the 
conventional  operatic  type  than  to  the 
works  which  came  after  them,  and  were 
called  Musikdramen.  "  Music  drama " 
is  an  awkward  phrase,  and  I  have  taken 
the  liberty  of  substituting  "  lyric  drama  " 
for  it,  and  as  such  I  shall  designate 
"  Tristan  und  Isolde,"  "  Die  Meister- 
singer,"  "  Der  Ring  des  Nibelungen," 
and  "  Parsifal."  In  these  works  Wagner 
exemplified  his  reformatory  ideas  and 
accomplished  a  regeneration  of  the 
lyric  drama,  as  we  found  it  embodied 
in  principle  in  the  Greek  tragedy  and 
the  Dramma  per  musica  of  the  Floren- 
tine scholars.  Wagner's  starting-point 
is,  that  in  the  opera  music  had  usurped 
a  place  which  did  not  belong  to  it.*  It 
was  designed  to  be  a  means  and  had 
become  an  end.  In  the  drama  he  found 
a  combination  of  poetry,  music,  panto- 
mime, and  scenery,  and  he  held  that 
these  factors  ought  to  co-operate  on 
a  basis  of  mutual  dependence,  the  in- 
spiration of  all  being  dramatic  expres- 

*  See  "  Studies  in  the  Wagnerian   Drama,"  chap- 
ter I. 









The  mis- 
sion of 

tions abol- 




How  to  Listen  to  Music 

sion.  Music,  therefore,  ought  to  be 
subordinate  to  the  text  in  which  the 
dramatic  idea  is  expressed,  and  simply 
serve  to  raise  it  to  a  higher  power  by- 
giving  it  greater  emotional  life.  So, 
also,  it  ought  to  vivify  pantomime  and 
accompany  the  stage  pictures.  In  or- 
der that  it  might  do  all  this,  it  had  to 
be  relieved  of  the  shackles  of  formal- 
ism ;  only  thus  could  it  move  with  the 
same  freedom  as  the  other  elements 
consorted  with  it  in  the  drama.  There- 
fore, the  distinctions  between  recitative 
and  aria  were  abolished,  and  an  "  endless 
melody "  took  the  place  of  both.  An 
exalted  form  of  speech  is  borne  along 
on  a  flood  of  orchestral  music,  which, 
quite  as  much  as  song,  action,  and 
scenery  concerns  itself  with  the  exposi- 
tion of  the  drama.  That  it  may  do  this 
the  agencies,  spiritual  as  well  as  ma- 
terial, which  are  instrumental  in  the 
development  of  the  play,  are  identified 
with  certain  melodic  phrases,  out  of 
which  the  musical  fabric  is  woven. 
These  phrases  are  the  much  mooted, 
much  misunderstood  "  leading  motives  " 
— typical  phrases  I  call  them.  Wagner 

At  the  Opera 

has  tried  to  make  them  reflect  the 
character  or  nature  of  the  agencies  with 
which  he  has  associated  them,  and 
therefore  we  find  the  giants  in  the 
Niblung  tetralogy  symbolized  in  heavy, 
slowly  moving,  cumbersome  phrases ; 
the  dwarfs  have  two  phrases,  one  sug- 
gesting their  occupation  as  smiths,  by  its 
hammering  rhythm,  and  the  other  their 
intellectual  habits,  by  its  suggestion 
of  brooding  contemplativeness.  I  can- 
not go  through  the  catalogue  of  the 
typical  phrases  which  enter  into  the 
musical  structure  of  the  works  which  I 
have  called  lyric  dramas  as  contra-dis- 
tinguished from  operas.  They  should, 
of  course,  be  known  to  the  student  of 
Wagner,  for  thereby  will  he  be  helped 
to  understand  the  poet-composer's  pur- 
poses, but  I  would  fain  repeat  the 
warning  which  I  uttered  twice  in  my 
"  Studies  in  the  Wagnerian  Drama :  " 

"  It  cannot  be  too  forcibly  urged  that  if  we  con- 
fine our  study  of  Wagner  to  the  forms  and  names 
of  the  phrases  out  of  which  he  constructs  his  mu' 
sical  fabric,  we  shall,  at  the  last,  have  enriched 
our  minds  with  a  thematic  catalogue  and — nothing 
else.  We  shall  remain  guiltless  of  knowledge  un- 



istics of 




should  be 

The  ques- 
tion of  ef- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

less  we  learn  something  of  the  nature  of  those 
phrases  by  noting  the  attributes  which  lend  them 
propriety  and  fitness,  and  can  recognize,  measur- 
ably at  least,  the  reasons  for  their  introduction  and 
development.  Those  attributes  give  character  and 
mood  to  the  music  constructed  out  of  the  phrases. 
If  we  are  able  to  feel  the  mood,  we  need  not  care 
how  the  phrases  which  produce  it  have  been 
labelled.  If  we  do  not  feel  the  mood,  we  may 
memorize  the  whole  thematic  catalogue  of  Wolzo- 
gen  and  have  our  labor  for  our  pains.  It  would  be 
better  to  know  nothing  about  the  phrases,  and  con- 
tent one's  self  with  simple  sensuous  enjoyment 
than  to  spend  one's  time  answering  the  baldest  of 
all  the  riddles  of  Wagner's  orchestra — '  What  am  I 
playing  now  ?  ' 

"  The  ultimate  question  concerning  the  correct- 
ness or  effectiveness  of  Wagner's  system  of  compo- 
sition must,  of  course,  be  answered  along  with  the 
question :  '  Does  the  composition,  as  a  whole, 
touch  the  emotions,  quicken  the  fancy,  fire  the  im- 
agination ?  '  If  it  does  these  things,  we  may,  to  a 
great  extent,  if  we  wish,  get  along  without  the  in- 
tellectual processes  of  reflection  and  comparison 
which  are  conditioned  upon  a  recognition  of  the 
themes  and  their  uses.  But  if  we  put  aside  this  in- 
tellectual activity,  we  shall  deprive  ourselves,  among 
other  things,  of  the  pleasures  which  it  is  the  prov- 
ince of  memory  to  give  ;  and  the  exercise  of  memory 
is  called  for  by  music  much  more  urgently  than  by 
any  other  art,  because  of  its  volatile  nature  and  the 
rdle  which  repetition  plays  in  it." 


Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

NO  one  would  go  far  astray  who 
should  estimate  the  extent  and 
sincerity  of  a  community's  musical 
culture  by  the  number  of  its  chorus 
singers.  Some  years  ago  it  was  said 
that  over  three  hundred  cities  and 
towns  in  Germany  contained  singing 
societies  and  orchestras  devoted  to  the 
cultivation  of  choral  music.  In  the 
United  States,  where  there  are  com- 
paratively a  small  number  of  instru- 
mental musicians,  there  has  been  a 
wonderful  development  of  singing  so- 
cieties within  the  last  generation,  and  it 
is  to  this  fact  largely  that  the  notable 
growth  in  the  country's  knowledge  and 
appreciation  of  high-class  music  is  due. 
No  amount  of  mere  hearing  and  study 
can  compare  in  influence  with  participa- 


Choirs  a 
of  culture. 



The  value 
of  choir 

and  or- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tion  in  musical  performance.  Music  is 
an  art  which  rests  on  love.  It  is  beau- 
tiful sound  vitalized  by  feeling,  and  it 
can  only  be  grasped  fully  through  man's 
emotional  nature.  There  is  no  quicker 
or  surer  way  to  get  to  the  heart  of  a 
composition  than  by  performing  it,  and 
since  participation  in  chorus  singing 
is  of  necessity  unselfish  and  creative  of 
sympathy,  there  is  no  better  medium  of 
musical  culture  than  membership  in  a 
choir.  It  was  because  he  realized  this 
that  Schumann  gave  the  advice  to  all 
students  of  music:  "  Sing  diligently  in 
choirs ;  especially  the  middle  voices, 
for  this  will  make  you  musical." 

There  is  no  community  so  small  or 
so  ill-conditioned  that  it  cannot  main- 
tain a  singing  society.  Before  a  city 
can  give  sustenance  to  even  a  small 
body  of  instrumentalists  it  must  be  large 
enough  and  rich  enough  to  maintain  a 
theatre  from  which  those  instrumental- 
ists can  derive  their  support.  There 
can  be  no  dependence  upon  amateurs, 
for  people  do  not  study  the  oboe,  bas- 
soon, trombone,  or  double-bass  for 
amusement.  Amateur  violinists  and 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

amateur  flautists  there  are  in  plenty, 
but  not  amateur  clarinetists  and  French- 
horn  players ;  but  if  the  love  for  music 
exists  in  a  community,  a  dozen  families 
shall  suffice  to  maintain  a  choral  club. 
Large  numbers  are  therefore  not  essen- 
tial ;  neither  is  wealth.  Some  of  the 
largest  and  finest  choirs  in  the  world 
flourish  among  the  Welsh  miners  in 
the  United  States  and  Wales,  fostered 
by  a  native  love  for  the  art  and  the  na- 
tional institution  called  Eisteddfod. 

The  lines  on  which  choral  culture  has 
proceeded  in  the  United  States  are  two, 
of  which  the  more  valuable,  from  an 
artistic  point  of  view,  is  that  of  the  ora- 
torio, which  went  out  from  New  Eng- 
land. The  other  originated  in  the  Ger- 
man cultivation  of  the  Mdnnergesang, 
the  importance  of  which  is  felt  more  in 
the  extent  of  the  culture,  prompted  as  it 
is  largely  by  social  considerations,  than 
in  the  music  sung,  which  is  of  necessity 
of  a  lower  grade  than  that  composed  for 
mixed  voices.  It  is  chiefly  in  the  im- 
pulse which  German  Mannergesang  car- 
ried into  all  the  corners  of  the  land,  and 
especially  the  impetus  which  the  festi- 


nor  wealth 

Lines  of 
choral  cult- 
ure in  the 


and  ora- 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

vals  of  the  German  singers  gave  to  the 
sections  in  which  they  have  been  held 
for  half  a  century,  that  this  form  of  cult- 
ure is  interesting. 

The  cultivation  of  oratorio  music 
sprang  naturally  from  the  Church,  and 
though  it  is  now  chiefly  in  the  hands  of 
secular  societies,  the  biblical  origin  of 
the  vast  majority  of  the  texts  used  in 
the  works  which  are  performed,  and 
more  especially  the  regular  perform- 
ances of  Handel's  "  Messiah  "  in  the 
Christmastide,  have  left  the  notion,  more 
or  less  distinct,  in  the  public  mind,  that 
oratorios  are  religious  functions.  Nev- 
ertheless (or  perhaps  because  of  this  fact) 
the  most  successful  choral  concerts  in  the 
United  States  are  those  given  by  orato- 
rio societies.  The  cultivation  of  cho- 
ral music  which  is  secular  in  character 
is  chiefly  in  the  hands  of  small  organi- 
zations, whose  concerts  are  of  a  semi- 
private  nature  and  are  enjoyed  by  the 
associate  members  and  invited  guests. 
This  circumstance  is  deserving  of  notice 
as  a  characteristic  feature  of  choral  mu- 
sic in  America,  though  it  has  no  partic- 
ular bearing  upon  this  study,  which 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

must  concern  itself  with  choral  organ- 
izations, choral  music,  and  choral  per- 
formances in  general. 

Organizations  of  the  kind  in  view  dif- 
fer from  instrumental  in  being  composed 
of  amateurs  ;  and  amateur  choir-singing 
is  no  older  anywhere  than  in  the  United 
States.  Two  centuries  ago  and  more 
the  singing  of  catches  and  glees  was  a 
common  amusement  among  the  gentler 
classes  in  England,  but  the  performances 
of  the  larger  forms  of  choral  music  were 
in  the  hands  of  professional  choristers 
who  were  connected  with  churches, 
theatres,  schools,  and  other  public  insti- 
tutions. Naturally,  then,  the  choral 
bodies  were  small.  Choirs  of  hundreds 
and  thousands,  such  as  take  part  in  the 
festivals  of  to-day,  are  a  product  of  a 
later  time. 

"  When  Bach  and  Handel  wrote  their  Passions, 
Church  Cantatas,  and  Oratorios,  they  could  only 
dream  of  such  majestic  performances  as  those 
works  receive  now ;  and  it  is  one  of  the  miracles  of 
art  that  they  should  have  written  in  so  masterly  a 
manner  for  forces  that  they  could  never  hope  to 
control.  Who  would  think,  when  listening  to  the 
4  Hallelujah  '  of '  The  Messiah,'  or  the  great  double 
choruses  of  ^  Israel  in  Egypt,'  in  which  the  voice 






in  the 



The  size  of 
old  choirs. 




Choirs  a 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 

of  the  composer  is  '  as  the  voice  of  a  great  mul- 
titude, and  as  the  voice  of  many  waters,  and  as  the 
voice  of  many  thunderings,  saying,  "  Alleluia,  for 
the  Lord  God  Omnipotent  reigneth ! '  "  that  these 
colossal  compositions  were  never  heard  by  Handel 
from  any  chorus  larger  than  the  most  modest  of 
our  church  choirs  ?  At  the  last  performance  of 
'  The  Messiah '  at  which  Handel  was  advertised  to 
appear  (it  was  for  the  benefit  of  his  favorite  charity, 
the  Foundling  Hospital,  on  May  3,  1759 — he  died 
before  the  time,  however),  the  singers,  including 
principals,  numbered  twenty-three,  while  the  instru- 
mentalists numbered  thirty-three.  At  the  first  great 
Handel  Commemoration,  in  Westminster  Abbey, 
in  1784,  the  choir  numbered  two  hundred  and 
seventy-five,  the  band  two  hundred  and  fifty ;  and 
this  was  the  most  numerous  force  ever  gathered  to- 
gether for  a  single  performance  in  England  up  to 
that  time. 

"  In  1791  the  Commemoration  was  celebrated  by 
a  choir  of  five  hundred  and  a  band  of  three  hundred 
and  seventy -five.  In  May,  1786,  Johann  Adam 
Hiller,  one  of  Bach's  successors  as  cantor  of  the  St. 
Thomas  School  in  Leipsic,  directed  what  was 
termed  a  Massenauffiihrung  of  '  The  Messiah,'  in 
the  Domkirche,  in  Berlin.  His  '  masses '  con- 
sisted of  one  hundred  and  eighteen  singers  and  one 
hundred  and  eighty-six  instrumentalists.  In  Han- 
del's operas,  and  sometimes  even  in  his  oratorios, 
the  tutti  meant,  in  his  time,  little  more  than  a 
union  of  all  the  solo  singers;  and  even  Bach's 
Passion  music  and  church  cantatas,  which  seem  as 
much  designed  for  numbers  as  the  double  choruses 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 


of    '  Israel,'    were    rendered  in    the    St.   Thomas 


Church  by  a  ludicrously  small  choir.     Of  this  fact  a 


record  is  preserved  in  the  archives  of  Leipsic.     In 

August,  1730,  Bach  submitted  to  the  authorities  a 


plan  for  a  church  choir  of  the  pupils  in  his  care.   In 


this  plan  his  singers  numbered  twelve,  there  being 

one  principal  and  two  ripienists  in  each  voice  ;  with 

characteristic  modesty  he  barely  suggests  a  prefer- 

ence for  sixteen.     The   circumstance   that  in   the 

same  document  he  asked  for  at  least  eighteen  in- 

strumentalists (two  more  if  flutes  were  used),  taken 

in  connection  with  the  figures  given  relative  to  the 

'  Messiah  '  performances,  gives  an  insight  into  the 

relations  between  the  vocal  and   the  instrumental 

parts  of  a  choral  performance  in  those  days."  * 

This  relation  has  been  more  than  re- 

versed  since    then,   the    orchestras    at 

modern  oratorio  performances   seldom 

being  one  -fifth  as  large   as  the  choir. 


This  difference,  however,  is  due  largely 

of  voices 
and  instru- 

to the   changed   character  of    modern 


music,  that  of  to-day  treating  the  instru- 

ments   as    independent  agents    of    ex- 

pression instead  of  using  them  chiefly  to 

support  the  voices  and  add  sonority  to 

the  tonal  mass,  as  was  done  by  Handel 

and  most  of  the  composers  of  his  day. 

*  "  Notes  on  the  Cultivation  of  Choral  Music,"  by 

H.  E.  Krehbiel,  p.  17. 




unions  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

I  omit  from  consideration  the  Glee 
Unions  of  England,  and  the  quartets, 
which  correspond  to  them,  in  this  coun- 
try. They  are  not  cultivators  of  choral 
music,  and  the  music  which  they  sing 
is  an  insignificant  factor  in  culture. 
The  male  choirs,  too,  need  not  detain  us 
long,  since  it  may  be  said  without  injus- 
tice that  their  mission  is  more  social 
than  artistic.  In  these  choirs  the  sub- 
division into  parts  is,  as  a  rule,  into 
two  tenor  voices,  first  and  second,  and 
two  bass,  first  and  second.  In  the  glee 
unions,  the  effect  of  whose  singing  is 
fairly  well  imitated  by  the  college  clubs 
of  the  United  States  (pitiful  things,  in- 
deed, from  an  artistic  point  of  view), 
there  is  a  survival  of  an  old  element  in 
the  male  alto  singing  above  the  melody 
voice,  generally  in  a  painful  falsetto. 
This  abomination  is  unknown  to  the 
German  part-songs  for  men's  voices, 
which  are  written  normally,  but  are  in 
the  long  run  monotonous  in  color  for 
want  of  the  variety  in  timbre  and  regis- 
ter which  the  female  voices  contribute 
in  a  mixed  choir. 

Th»re  are  choirs  also  composed  ex- 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

clusively  of  women,  but  they  are  even 
more  unsatisfactory  than  the  male 
choirs,  for  the  reason  that  the  absence 
of  the  bass  voice  leaves  their  harmony 
without  sufficient  foundation.  Gener- 
ally, music  for  these  choirs  is  written 
for  three  parts,  two  sopranos  and  con- 
tralto, with  the  result  that  it  hovers,  sus- 
pended like  Mahomet's  coffin,  between 
heaven  and  earth.  When  a  fourth  part 
is  added  it  is  a  second  contralto,  which 
is  generally  carried  down  to  the  tones 
that  are  hollow  and  unnatural. 

The  substitution  of  boys  for  women 
in  Episcopal  Church  choirs  has  grown 
extensively  within  the  last  ten  years  in 
the  United  States,  very  much  to  the 
promotion  of  aesthetic  sentimentality  in 
the  congregations,  but  without  improv- 
ing the  character  of  worship -music. 
Boys'  voices  are  practically  limitless  in 
an  upward  direction,  and  are  naturally 
clear  and  penetrating.  Ravishing  effects 
can  be  produced  with  them,  but  it  is 
false  art  to  use  passionless  voices  in  mu- 
sic conceived  for  the  mature  and  emo- 
tional voices  of  adults ;  and  very  little  of 
the  old  English  Cathedral  music,  written 








Origin  of 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

for  choirs  of  boys  and  men,  is  preserved 
in  the  service  lists  to-day. 

The  only  satisfactory  choirs  are  the 
mixed  choirs  of  men  and  women.  Upon 
them  has  devolved  the  cultivation  of 
artistic  choral  music  in  our  public  con- 
cert-rooms. As  we  know  such  choirs 
now,  they  are  of  comparatively  recent 
origin,  and  it  is  a  singular  commentary 
upon  the  way  in  which  musical  history 
is  written,  that  the  fact  should  have  so 
long  been  overlooked  that  the  credit 
of  organizing  the  first  belongs  to  the 
United  States.  A  little  reflection  will 
show  this  fact,  which  seems  somewhat 
startling  at  first  blush,  to  be  entirely 
natural.  Large  singing  societies  are  of 
necessity  made  up  of  amateurs,  and  the 
want  of  professional  musicians  in  Amer- 
ica compelled  the  people  to  enlist  ama- 
teurs at  a  time  when  in  Europe  choral 
activity  rested  on  the  church,  theatre, 
and  institute  choristers,  who  were  prac- 
tically professionals. 

As  the  hitherto  accepted  record  stands, 
the  first  amateur  singing  society  was 
the  Singakademie  of  Berlin,  which  Carl 
Friedrich  Fasch,  accompanist  to  the  roy- 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

al  flautist,  Frederick  the  Great,  called 
into  existence  in  1791.  A  few  dates  will 
show  how  slow  the  other  cities  of  mu- 
sical Germany  were  in  following  Berlin's 
example.  In  1818  there  were  only  ten 
amateur  choirs  in  all  Germany.  Leip- 
sic  organized  one  in  1800,  Stettin  in  1800, 
Miinster  in  1804,  Dresden  in  1807,  Pots- 
dam in  1814,  Bremen  in  1815,  Chemnitz 
in  1817,  Schwabisch-Hall  in  1817,  and 
Innsbruck  in  1818.  The  Berlin  Sing- 
akademie  is  still  in  existence,  but  so  also 
is  the  Stoughton  Musical  Society  in 
Stoughton,  Mass.,  which  was  founded 
on  November  7,  1786.  Mr.  Charles  C. 
Perkins,  historian  of  the  Handel  and 
Haydn  Society,  whose  foundation  was 
coincident  with  the  sixth  society  in  Ger- 
many (Bremen,  1815),  enumerates  the 
following  predecessors  of  that  venerable 
organization :  the  Stoughton  Musical 
Society,  1786  ;  Independent  Musical  So- 
ciety, "  established  at  Boston  in  the  same 
year,  which  gave  a  concert  at  King's 
Chapel  in  1788,  and  took  part  there  in 
commemorating  the  death  of  Washing- 
ton (December  14,  1799)  on  his  first  suc- 
ceeding birthday  ;  "  the  Franklin,  1804  I 



The  Ger- 
man record. 







Choirs  in 
the  West. 

The  size  of 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

the  Salem,  1806;  Massachusetts  Musical, 
1807;  Lock  Hospital,  1812,  and  the  Nor- 
folk Musical,  the  date  of  whose  founda- 
tion is  not  given  by  Mr.  Perkins. 

When  the  Bremen  Singakademie  was 
organized  there  were  already  choirs  in 
the  United  States  as  far  west  as  Cincin- 
nati. In  that  city  they  were  merely 
church  choirs  at  first,  but  within  a  few 
years  they  had  combined  into  a  large 
body  and  were  giving  concerts  at  which 
some  of  the  choruses  of  Handel  and 
Haydn  were  sung.  That  their  perform- 
ances, as  well  as  those  of  the  New  Eng- 
land societies,  were  cruder  than  those  of 
their  European  rivals  may  well  be  be- 
lieved, but  with  this  I  have  nothing  to  do. 
I  am  simply  seeking  to  establish  the  pri- 
ority of  the  United  States  in  amateur 
choral  culture.  The  number  of  Ameri- 
can cities  in  which  oratorios  are  per- 
formed annually  is  now  about  fifty. 

In  size  mixed  choirs  ordinarily  range 
from  forty  voices  to  five  hundred.  It 
were  well  if  it  were  understood  by  chor- 
isters as  well  as  the  public  that  numbers 
merely  are  not  a  sign  of  merit  in  a  sing- 
ing society.  So  the  concert-room  be 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

not  too  large,  a  choir  of  sixty  well-trained 
voices  is  large  enough  to  perform  almost 
everything  in  choral  literature  with 
good  effect,  and  the  majority  of  the  best 
compositions  will  sound  better  under 
such  circumstances  than  in  large  rooms 
with  large  choirs.  Especially  is  this 
true  of  the  music  of  the  Middle  Ages, 
written  for  voices  without  instrumental 
accompaniment,  of  which  I  shall  have 
something  to  say  when  the  discussion 
reaches  choral  programmes.  There  is 
music,  it  is  true,  like  much  of  Handel's, 
the  impressiveness  of  which  is  greatly 
enhanced  by  masses,  but  it  is  not  exten- 
sive enough  to  justify  the  sacrifice  of 
correctness  and  finish  in  the  perform- 
ance to  mere  volume.  The  use  of  large 
choirs  has  had  the  effect  of  developing 
the  skilfulness  of  amateur  singers  in  an 
astonishing  degree,  but  there  is,  never- 
theless, a  point  where  weightiness  of 
tone  becomes  an  obstacle  to  finished 
execution.  When  Mozart  remodelled 
Handel's  "  Messiah  "  he  was  careful  to 
indicate  that  the  florid  passages  ("  divis- 
ions "  they  used  to  be  called  in  England) 
should  be  sung  by  the  solo  voices  alone, 



not  essen- 

How  "  di- 
visions " 
used  to  be 




of  choirs. 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 

but  nowadays  choirs  of  five  hundred 
voices  attack  such  choruses  as  "  For 
unto  us  a  Child  is  Born,"  without  the 
slightest  hesitation,  even  if  they  some- 
times make  a  mournful  mess  of  the  "  di- 

The  normal  division  of  a  mixed  choir 
is  into  four  parts  or  voices — soprano, 
contralto,  tenor,  and  bass;  but  corn- 
posers  sometimes  write  for  more  parts, 
and  the  choir  is  subdivided  to  corre- 
spond. The  custom  of  writing  for  five, 
six,  eight,  ten,  and  even  more  voices  was 
more  common  in  the  Middle  Ages,  the 
palmy  days  of  the  a  capella  (i.e.,  for  the 
chapel,  unaccompanied)  style  than  it  is 
now,  and,  as  a  rule,  a  division  into  more 
than  four  voices  is  not  needed  outside  of 
the  societies  which  cultivate  this  old  mu- 
sic, such  as  the  Musical  Art  Society  in 
New  York,  the  Bach  Choir  in  London, 
and  the  Domchor  in  Berlin.  In  music 
for  five  parts,  one  of  the  upper  voices, 
soprano  or  tenor,  is  generally  doubled ; 
for  six,  the  ordinary  distribution  is  into 
two  sopranos,  two  contraltos,  tenor,  and 
bass.  When  eight  voices  are  reached  a 
distinction  is  made  according  as  there 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

are  to  be  eight  real  parts  (a  otto  voci 
reali),  or  two  choruses  of  the  four  nor- 
mal parts  each  (a  otto  voci  in  due  cori 
realt).  In  the  first  instance  the  arrange- 
ment commonly  is  three  sopranos,  two 
contraltos,  two  tenors,  and  one  bass. 
One  of  the  most  beautiful  uses  of  the 
double  choir  is  to  produce  antiphonal 
effects,  choir  answering  to  choir,  both 
occasionally  uniting  in  the  climaxes. 
How  stirring  this  effect  can  be  made 
may  be  observed  in  some  of  Bach's 
compositions,  especially  those  in  which 
he  makes  the  division  of  the  choir  sub- 
serve a  dramatic  purpose,  as  in  the  first 
chorus  of  "The  Passion  according  to 
St.  Matthew,"  where  the  two  choirs, 
one  representing  Daughters  of  Zion,  the 
other  Believers,  interrogate  and  answer 
each  other  thus : 

I.  "  Come,  ye  daughters,  weep  for  anguish ; 

See  Him  ! 
II.  "Whom? 
I.  "  The  Son  of  Man. 

See  Him ! 
II.  "How? 
I.  "  So  like  a  lamb. 

See  it ! 
II.  "What? 



nal music. 

Bach's  "St. 
Passion. " 



in  a  motet. 

in  choral 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

I.  "  His  love  untold. 


II.  "Look  where? 
I.  "  Our  guilt  behold." 

Another  most  striking  instance  is  in 
the  same  master's  motet,  "  Sing  ye  to 
the  Lord,"  which  is  written  for  two 
choirs  of  four  parts  each.  (In  the  ex- 
ample from  the  "  St.  Matthew  Passion  " 
there  is  a  third  choir  of  soprano  voices 
which  sings  a  chorale  while  the  dra- 
matic choirs  are  conversing.)  In  the 
motet  the  first  choir  begins  a  fugue,  in 
the  midst  of  which  the  second  choir  is 
heard  shouting  jubilantly,  "  Sing  ye ! 
Sing  ye  !  Sing  ye ! "  Then  the  choirs 
change  roles,  the  first  delivering  the  in- 
junction, the  second  singing  the  fugue. 
In  modern  music,  composers  frequently 
consort  a  quartet  of  solo  voices,  so- 
prano, contralto,  tenor,  and  bass,  with  a 
four-part  chorus,  and  thus  achieve  fine 
effects  of  contrast  in  dynamics  and 
color,  as  well  as  antiphonal. 

The  question  is  near :  What  consti- 
tutes excellence  in  a  choral  perform- 
ance? To  answer:  The  same  qualities 
that  constitute  excellence  in  an  orches- 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

tral  performance,  will  scarcely  suffice, 
except  as  a  generalization.  A  higher 
degree  of  harmonious  action  is  exacted 
of  a  body  of  singers  than  of  a  body  of 
instrumentalists.  Many  of  the  parts  in 
a  symphony  are  played  by  a  single 
instrument.  Community  of  voice  be- 
longs only  to  each  of  the  five  bodies  of 
string -players.  In  a  chorus  there  are 
from  twelve  to  one  hundred  and  fifty 
voices,  or  even  more,  united  in  each 
part.  This  demands  the  effacement  of 
individuality  in  a  chorus,  upon  the 
assertion  of  which,  in  a  band,  under  the 
judicious  guidance  of  the  conductor, 
many  of  the  effects  of  color  and  ex- 
pression depend.  Each  group  in  a 
choir  must  strive  for  homogeneity  of 
voice  quality;  each  singer  must  sink 
the  ego  in  the  aggregation,  yet  employ 
it  in  its  highest  potency  so  far  as  the 
mastery  of  the  technics  of  singing  is 
concerned.  In  cultivating  precision  of 
attack  (z>.,  promptness  in  beginning  a 
tone  and  leaving  it  off),  purity  of  intona- 
tion (i.e.,  accuracy  or  justness  of  pitch 
— "  singing  in  tune  "  according  to  the 
popular  phrase),  clearness  of  enuncia- 



of  action. 





Beauty  of 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tion,  and  careful  attention  to  all  the 
dynamic  gradations  of  tone,  from  very 
soft  up  to  very  loud,  and  all  shades  of 
expression  between,  in  the  development 
of  that  gradual  augmentation  of  tone 
called  crescendo,  and  the  gradual  diminu- 
tion called  diminuendo,  the  highest  order 
of  individual  skill  is  exacted  from  every 
chorister ;  for  upon  individual  perfection 
in  these  things  depends  the  collective 
effect  which  it  is  the  purpose  of  the 
conductor  to  achieve.  Sensuous  beauty 
of  tone,  even  in  large  aggregations,  is 
also  dependent  to  a  great  degree  upon 
careful  and  proper  emission  of  voice  by 
each  individual,  and  it  is  because  the 
contralto  part  in  most  choral  music, 
being  a  middle  part,  lies  so  easily  in  the 
voices  of  the  singers  that  the  contralto 
contingent  in  American  choirs,  espe- 
cially, so  often  attracts  attention  by  the 
charm  of  its  tone.  Contralto  voices  are 
seldom  forced  into  the  regions  which 
compel  so  great  a  physical  strain  that 
beauty  and  character  must  be  sacrificed 
to  mere  accomplishment  of  utterance, 
as  is  frequently  the  case  with  the  so- 
prano part. 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

Yet  back  of  all  this  exercise  of  indi- 
vidual skill  there  must  be  a  spirit  of 
self-sacrifice  which  can  only  exist  in 
effective  potency  if  prompted  by  univer- 
sal sympathy  and  love  for  the  art.  A  self- 
ish chorister  is  not  a  chorister,  though 
possessed  of  the  voice  of  a  Melba  or 
Mario.  Balance  between  the  parts,  not 
only  in  the  fundamental  constitution  of 
the  choir  but  also  in  all  stages  of  a  per- 
formance, is  also  a  matter  of  the  highest 
consideration.  In  urban  communities, 
especially,  it  is  difficult  to  secure  per- 
fect tonal  symmetry — the  rule  is  a  pov- 
erty in  tenor  voices — but  those  who  go 
to  hear  choral  concerts  are  entitled  to 
hear  a  well-balanced  choir,  and  the  pres- 
ence of  an  army  of  sopranos  will  not 
condone  a  squad  of  tenors.  Again,  I 
say,  better  a  well-balanced  small  choir 
than  an  ill-balanced  large  one. 

I  have  not  enumerated  all  the  ele- 
ments which  enter  into  a  meritorious 
performance,  nor  shall  I  discuss  them 
all ;  only  in  passing  do  I  wish  to  direct 
attention  to  one  which  shines  by  Its 
absence  in  the  choral  performances  not 
only  of  America  but  also  of  Great 



fatal  to  sue- 

Tonal  bal- 





The  cho- 
ruses in 
"  The 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

Britain  and  Germany.  Proper  pro- 
nunciation of  the  texts  is  an  obvious 
requirement ;  so  ought  also  to  be  dec- 
lamation. There  is  no  reason  why 
characteristic  expression,  by  which  I 
mean  expression  which  goes  to  the 
genius  of  the  melodic  phrase  when  it 
springs  from  the  verbal,  should  be 
ignored,  simply  because  it  may  be  diffi- 
cult of  attainment  from  large  bodies  of 
singers.  There  is  so  much  monotony 
in  oratorio  concerts  because  all  oratorios 
and  all  parts  of  any  single  oratorio  are 
sung  alike.  Only  when  the  "  Hallelu- 
jah "  is  sung  in  "  The  Messiah  "  at  the 
gracious  Christmastide  is  an  exaltation 
above  the  dull  level  of  the  routine 
performances  noticeable,  and  then  it  is 
communicated  to  the  singers  by  the  act 
of  the  listeners  in  rising  to  their  feet. 
Now,  despite  the  structural  sameness  in 
the  choruses  of  "  The  Messiah,"  they 
have  a  great  variety  of  content,  and  if 
the  characteristic  physiognomy  of  each 
could  but  be  disclosed,  the  grand  old 
work,  which  seems  hackneyed  to  so 
many,  would  acquire  amazing  freshness, 
eloquence,  and  power.  Then  should  we 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 


be  privileged  to  note  that  there  is  ample 
variety  in  the  voice  of  the  old  master, 
of  whom  a  greater  than   he  said   that 
when  he  wished,  he  could  strike  like  a 
thunderbolt.     Then  should  we  hear  the 
tones  of  amazed  adoration  in 

,    Largo. 

bfr^T"  —  -           <*       t      t       LT- 


Variety  of 
tion in 

i-«\r  ^  —  -  fs  —  *-.  —  «p  —  j  d*~~d-- 
J         p           -±                            -r     * 

Be  -  hold      the     Lamb     of    God  ! 

of  cruel  scorn  in 

/  Allegro. 

P3J5"  h  /  1    ^      (•          1        —  f.  ^j     -^  p  —  *  wx=k*v  —  ^  —  1 

He  trust  -  ed  in  God  that  he     would       de- 

t^          1              *1        hj   p  1  1  —  ^  F-  p  

U  —  £  —  -!—  U  —  L<  —  k—  J  -^  1  : 
liv  -  er    Him,         let    him    de    -  liv  -   er      him 

f  q  ^  \L  P  .  —  m  —  _  m  ^  

1  ^  ^  *  "  
if         he         de     -     light         in          him. 

of  boastfuiness  and  conscious  strength 

i  0  .»           r      L   •  f.      '    ,  1      V     P^  ~ 

Let      us    break  their  bonds    a  •  sun  -  der. 

and  learn   to  admire  as   we  ought  to 
admire  the  declamatory   strength   and 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 




truthfulness   so    common    in    Handel's 

There  is  very  little  cultivation  of 
choral  music  of  the  early  ecclesiastical 
type,  and  that  little  is  limited  to  the 
Church  and  a  few  choirs  specially  organ- 
ized for  its  performance,  like  those  that 
I  have  mentioned.  This  music  is  so 
foreign  to  the  conceptions  of  the  ordi- 
nary amateur,  and  exacts  so  much  skill 
in  the  singing  of  the  intervals,  lacking 
the  prop  of  modern  tonality  as  it  does, 
that  it  is  seldom  that  an  amateur  body 
can  be  found  equal  to  its  performance. 
Moreover,  it  is  nearly  all  of  a  solemn 
type.  Its  composers  were  churchmen, 
and  when  it  was  written  nearly  all  that 
there  was  of  artistic  music  was  in  the 
service  of  the  Church.  The  secular 
music  of  the  time  consisted  chiefly  in 
Madrigals,  which  differed  from  ecclesi- 
astical music  only  in  their  texts,  they  be- 
ing generally  erotic  in  sentiment.  The 
choristers  of  to-day,  no  less  than  the 
public,  find  it  difficult  to  appreciate 
them,  because  they  are  not  melodic  in 
the  sense  that  most  music  is  nowadays. 
In  them  the  melody  is*  not  the  privileged 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

possession  of  the  soprano  voice.  All 
the  voices  stand  on  an  equal  footing, 
and  the  composition  consists  of  a  weav- 
ing together,  according  to  scientific 
rules,  of  a  number  of  voices — counter- 
point as  it  is  called. 

Our  hymn -tunes  are  homophonic, 
based  upon  a  melody  sung  by  one  voice, 
for  which  the  other  voices  provide  the 
harmony.  This  style  of  music  came 
into  the  Church  through  the  German 
Reformation.  Though  Calvin  was  a 
lover  of  music  he  restricted  its  practice 
among  his  followers  to  unisonal  psal- 
mody, that  is,  to  certain  tunes  adapted 
to  the  versified  psalms  sung  without  ac- 
companiment of  harmony  voices.  On 
the  adoption  of  the  Genevan  psalter  he 
gave  the  strictest  injunction  that  neither 
its  text  nor  its  melodies  were  to  be  al- 

"  Those  songs  and  melodies,"  said  he,  "  which 
are  composed  for  the  mere  pleasure  of  the  ear,  and 
all  they  call  ornamental  music,  and  songs  for  four 
parts,  do  not  behoove  the  majesty  of  the  Church, 
and  cannot  fail  greatly  to  displease  God." 

Under  the  influence  of  the  German 
reformers  music  was  in  a  very  different 



nic  hymns. 






Luther  and 
the  German 

A  German 

tunes  used. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

case.  Luther  was  not  only  an  amateur 
musician,  he  was  also  an  ardent  lover 
of  scientific  music.  Josquin  des  Pres, 
a  contemporary  of  Columbus,  was  his 
greatest  admiration ;  nevertheless,  he 
was  anxious  from  the  beginning  of  his 
work  of  Church  establishment  to  have 
the  music  of  the  German  Church  Ger- 
man in  spirit  and  style.  In  1525  he 
wrote :  • 

"  I  should  like  to  have  a  German  mass,  and  I  am 
indeed  at  work  on  one ;  but  I  am  anxious  that  it 
shall  be  truly  German  in  manner.  I  have  no  objec- 
tion to  a  translated  Latin  text  and  Latin  notes ;  but 
they  are  neither  proper  nor  just  (aber  es  lautet  nicht 
artig  noch  rechtschajfeti) ;  text  and  notes,  accent, 
melodies,  and  demeanor  must  come  from  our  mother 
tongue  and  voice,  else  will  it  all  be  but  a  mimicry, 
like  that  of  the  apes." 

In  the  Church  music  of  the  time,  com- 
posed, as  I  have  described,  by  a  scientific 
interweaving  of  voices,  the  composers 
had  got  into  the  habit  of  utilizing  secu- 
lar melodies  as  the  foundation  on  which 
to  build  their  contrapuntal  structures. 
I  have  no  doubt  that  it  was  the  spirit 
which  speaks  out  of  Luther's  words 
which  brought  it  to  pass  that  in  Ger- 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

many  contrapuntal  music  with  popular 
melodies  as  foundations  developed  into 
the  chorale,  in  which  the  melody  and  not 
the  counterpoint  was  the  essential  thing. 
With  the  Lutheran  Church  came  con- 
gregational singing ;  with  congrega- 
tional singing  the  need  of  a  new  style 
of  composition,  which  should  not  only 
make  the  participation  of  the  people 
in  the  singing  possible,  but  should  also 
stimulate  them  to  sing  by  freeing  the 
familiar  melodies  (the  melodies  of  folk- 
songs) from  the  elaborate  and  ingenious, 
but  soulless,  counterpoint  which  fettered 

The  Flemish  masters,  who  were  the 
musical  law-givers,  had  been  using  sec- 
ular tunes  for  over  a  century,  but  only 
as  stalking-horses  for  counterpoint ;  and 
when  the  Germans  began  to  use  their 
tunes,  they,  too,  buried  them  beyond  rec- 
ognition in  the  contrapuntal  mass.  The 
people  were  invited  to  sing  paraphrases 
of  the  psalms  to  familiar  tunes,  it  is  true, 
but  the  choir's  polyphony  went  far  to 
stifle  the  spirit  of  the  melody.  Soon 
the  free  spirit  which  I  have  repeatedly 
referred  to  as  Romanticism,  and  which 







The  first 

The  Church 

and  con- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

was  powerfully  encouraged  by  the  Ref- 
ormation, prompted  a  style  of  composi- 
tion in  which  the  admired  melody  was 
lifted  into  relief.  This  could  not  be 
done  until  the  new  style  of  writing  in- 
vented by  the  creators  of  the  opera  (see 
Chapter  VII.)  came  in,  but  as  early  as 
1568  Dr.  Lucas  Ostrander  published 
fifty  hymns  and  psalms  with  music  so 
arranged  "  that  the  congregation  may 
join  in  singing  them."  This,  then,  is  in 
outline  the  story  of  the  beginning  of 
modern  hymnology,  and  it  is  recalled  to 
the  patrons  of  choral  concerts  whenever 
in  Bach's  "  Passion  Music  "  or  in  Men- 
delssohn's "St.  Paul"  the  choir  sings 
one  of  the  marvellous  old  hymns  of  the 
German  Church. 

Choral  music  being  bound  up  with 
the  Church,  it  has  naturally  participated 
in  the  conservatism  characteristic  of  the 
Church.  The  severe  old  style  has  sur- 
vived in  the  choral  compositions  of  to- 
day, while  instrumental  music  has  grown 
to  be  almost  a  new  thing  within  the  cen- 
tury which  is  just  closing.  It  is  the  se- 
vere style  established  by  Bach,  however, 
not  that  of  Palestrina.  In  the  Church 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

compositions  prior  to  Palestrina  the  emo- 
tional power  of  harmony  was  but  little 
understood.  The  harmonies,  indeed, 
were  the  accidents  of  the  interweaving 
of  melodies.  Palestrina  was  among  the 
first  to  feel  the  uplifting  effect  which 
might  result  from  a  simple  sequence  of 
pure  consonant  harmonies,  and  the  three 
chords  which  open  his  famous  "  Stabat 

Sta   -   bat      ma  -   ter 

are  a  sign  of  his  style  as  distinct  in  its 
way  as  the  devices  by  means  of  which 
Wagner  stamps  his  individuality  on  his 
phrases.  His  melodies,  too,  compared 
with  the  artificial  motivi  of  his  predeces- 
sors, are  distinguished  by  grace,  beauty, 
and  expressiveness,  while  his  command 
of  aetherial  effects,  due  to  the  manner  in 
which  the  voices  are  combined,  is  abso- 
lutely without  parallel  from  his  day  to 
this.  Of  the  mystery  of  pure  beauty  he 
enjoyed  a  wonderful  revelation,  and  has 



and  emo- 

"  Stabat 

istics of 
his  music. 



music  not 

A  church- 

Efect  of 
the  Refor- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

handed  it  down  to  us  in  such  works  as 
the  "  Stabat  Mater,"  "  Missa  Papae  Mar- 
celli,"  and  the  "  Improperia." 

This  music  must  not  be  listened  to 
with  the  notion  in  mind  of  dramatic  ex- 
pression such  as  we  almost  instinctively 
feel  to-day.  Palestrina  does  not  seek  to 
proclaim  the  varying  sentiment  which 
underlies  his  texts.  That  leads  to  indi- 
vidual interpretation  and  is  foreign  to 
the  habits  of  churchmen  in  the  old  con- 
ception, when  the  individual  was  com- 
pletely resolved  in  the  organization. 
He  aimed  to  exalt  the  mystery  of  the 
service,  not  to  bring  it  down  to  popular 
comprehension  and  make  it  a  personal 
utterance.  For  such  a  design  in  music 
we  must  wait  until  after  the  Reforma- 
tion, when  the  ancient  mysticism  began 
to  fall  back  before  the  demands  of  rea- 
son, when  the  idea  of  the  sole  and  suffi- 
cient mediation  of  the  Church  lost  some 
of  its  power  in  the  face  of  the  growing 
conviction  of  intimate  personal  relation- 
ship between  man  and  his  creator. 
Now  idealism  had  to  yield  some  of  its 
dominion  to  realism,  and  a  more  rugged 
art  grew  up  in  place  of  that  which  had 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

been  so  wonderfully  sublimated  by  mys- 

It  is  in  Bach,  who  came  a  century 
after  Palestrina,  that  we  find  the  most 
eloquent  musical  proclamation  of  the 
new  regime,  and  it  is  in  no  sense  dis- 
respectful to  the  great  German  master 
if  we  feel  that  the  change  in  ideals  was 
accompanied  with  a  loss  in  sensuous 
charm,  or  pure  aesthetic  beauty.  Effect 
has  had  to  yield  to  idea.  It  is  in  the 
flow  of  the  voices,  the  color  effects  which 
result  from  combination  and  registers, 
the  clarity  of  the  harmonies,  the  repose- 
fulness  coming  from  conscious  ease  of 
utterance,  the  loveliness  of  each  individ- 
ual part,  and  the  spiritual  exaltation  of 
the  whole  that  the  aesthetic  mystery  of 
Palestrina's  music  lies. 

Like  Palestrina,  Bach  is  the  culmina- 
tion of  the  musical  practice  of  his  time, 
but,  unlike  Palestrina,  he  is  also  the 
starting-point  of  a  new  development. 
With  Bach  the  old  contrapuntal  art,  now 
not  vocal  merely  but  instrumental  also 
and  mixed,  reaches  its  climax,  and  the 
tendency  sets  in  which  leads  to  the 
highly  complex  and  dramatic  art  of  to- 

28 1 


The  source 
of  beauty 
in  Palcs- 




Bach  a 



and  indi- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

day.  Palestrina's  art  is  Roman ;  the 
spirit  of  restfulness,  of  celestial  calm, 
of  supernatural  revelation  and  supernal 
beauty  broods  over  it.  Bach's  is  Gothic 
— rugged,  massive,  upward  striving,  hu- 
man. In  Palestrina's  music  the  voice 
that  speaks  is  the  voice  of  angels ;  in 
Bach's  it  is  the  voice  of  men. 

Bach  is  the  publisher  of  the  truest, 
tenderest,  deepest,  and  most  individual 
religious  feeling.  His  music  is  pecul- 
iarly a  hymning  of  the  religious  sen- 
timent of  Protestant  Germany,  where 
salvation  is  to  be  wrought  out  with 
fear  and  trembling  by  each  individual 
through  faith  and  works  rather  than  the 
agency  of  even  a  divinely  constituted 
Church.  It  reflects,  with  rare  fidelity 
and  clearness,  the  essential  qualities  of 
the  German  people — their  warm  sympa- 
thy, profound  compassion,  fervent  love, 
and  sturdy  faith.  As  the  Church  fell 
into  the  background  and  the  individual 
came  to  the  fore,  religious  music  took 
on  the  dramatic  character  which  we 
find  in  the  "  Passion  Music  "  of  Bach. 
Here  the  sufferings  and  death  of  the 
Saviour,  none  the  less  an  ineffable  mys- 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

tery,  are  depicted  as  the  most  poignant 
experience  of  each  individual  believer, 
and  with  an  ingenuousness  that  must 
forever  provoke  the  wonder  of  those 
who  are  unable  to  enter  into  the  Ger- 
man nature.  The  worshippers  do  not 
hesitate  to  say :  "  My  Jesus,  good- 
night ! "  as  they  gather  in  fancy  around 
His  tomb  and  invoke  sweet  rest  for  His 
weary  limbs.  The  difference  between 
such  a  proclamation  and  the  calm  voice 
of  the  Church  should  be  borne  in  mind 
when  comparing  the  music  of  Palestrina 
with  that  of  Bach  ;  also  the  vast  strides 
made  by  music  during  the  intervening 

Of  Bach's  music  we  have  in  the  rep- 
ertories of  our  best  choral  societies  a 
number  of  motets,  church  cantatas,  a  set- 
ting of  the  "  Magnificat,"  and  the  great 
mass  in  B  minor.  The  term  Motet  lacks 
somewhat  of  definiteness  of  the  usage  of 
composers.  Originally  it  seems  likely 
that  it  was  a  secular  composition  which 
the  Netherland  composers  enlisted  in 
the  service  of  the  Church  by  adapting 
it  to  Biblical  and  other  religious  texts. 
Then  it  was  always  unaccompanied.  In 



ness of 

The  motet. 




The  "Pas- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

the  later  Protestant  motets  the  chorale 
came  to  play  a  great  part ;  the  various 
stanzas  of  a  hymn  were  given  differ- 
ent settings,  the  foundation  of  each  be- 
ing the  hymn  tune.  These  were  inter- 
spersed with  independent  pieces,  based 
on  Biblical  words. 

The  Church  Cantatas  (Kirchencanta- 
teri)  are  larger  services  with  orchestral 
accompaniment,  which  were  written  to 
conform  to  the  various  religious  festi- 
vals and  Sundays  of  the  year  ;  each  has 
for  a  fundamental  subject  the  theme 
which  is  proper  to  the  day.  Again,  a 
chorale  provides  the  musical  founda- 
tion. Words  and  melody  are  retained, 
but  between  the  stanzas  occur  recita- 
tives and  metrical  airs,  or  ariosos,  for 
solo  voices  in  the  nature  of  commenta- 
ries or  reflections  on  the  sentiment  of 
the  hymn  or  the  gospel  lesson  for  the 

The  "  Passions "  are  still  more  ex- 
tended, and  were  written  for  use  in 
the  Reformed  Church  in  Holy  Week. 
As  an  art-form  they  arc  unique,  com- 
bining a  number  of  elements  and  hav- 
ing all  the  apparatus  of  an  oratorio 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

plus  the  congregation,  which  took  part 
in  the  performance  by  singing  the 
hymns  dispersed  through  the  work. 
The  service  (for  as  a  service,  rather 
than  as  an  oratorio,  it  must  be  treated) 
roots  in  the  Miracle  plays  and  Myste- 
ries of  the  Middle  Ages,  but  its  origin 
is  even  more  remote,  going  back  to 
the  custom  followed  by  the  primitive 
Christians  of  making  the  reading  of  the 
story  of  the  Passion  a  special  service 
for  Holy  Week.  In  the  Eastern  Church 
it  was  introduced  in  a  simple  dramatic 
form  as  early  as  the  fourth  century  A.D., 
the  treatment  being  somewhat  like  the 
ancient  tragedies,  the  text  being  intoned 
or  chanted.  In  the  Western  Church, 
until  the  sixteenth  century,  the  Passion 
was  read  in  a  way  which  gave  the  ser- 
vice one  element  which  is  found  in 
Bach's  works  in  an  amplified  form. 
Three  deacons  were  employed,  one  to 
read  (or  rather  chant  to  Gregorian 
melodies)  the  words  of  Christ,  anoth- 
er to  deliver  the  narrative  in  the  words 
of  the  Evangelist,  and  a  third  to 
give  the  utterances  and  exclamations  of 
the  Apostles  and  people.  This  was 



Origin  of 
the  "  Pas- 

Early  Holy 
Week  ser- 



The  ser- 
vice ampli- 


How  to  Listen  to  Music 

the  Cantus  Passionis  Domini  nostri  Jesu 
Christe  of  the  Church,  and  had  so  strong 
a  hold  upon  the  tastes  of  the  people 
that  it  was  preserved  by  Luther  in  the 
Reformed  Church. 

Under  this  influence  it  was  speedily 
amplified..  The  successive  steps  of  the 
progress  are  not  clear,  but  the  choir 
seems  to  have  first  succeeded  to  the 
part  formerly  sung  by  the  third  deacon, 
and  in  some  churches  the  whole  Passion 
was  sung  antiphonally  by  two  choirs. 
In  the  seventeenth  century  the  intro- 
duction of  recitatives  and  arias,  distrib- 
uted among  singers  who  represented 
the  personages  of  sacred  history,  in- 
creased the  dramatic  element  of  the 
service  which  reached  its  climax  in  the 
"  St.  Matthew  "  setting  by  Bach.  The 
chorales  are  supposed  to  have  been  in- 
troduced about  1704.  Bach's  "  Passions" 
are  the  last  that  figure  in  musical  his- 
tory. That  "according  to  St.  John" 
is  performed  occasionally  in  Germany, 
but  it  yields  the  palm  of  excellence  to 
that  "  according  to  St.  Matthew,"  which 
had  its  first  performance  on  Good  Fri- 
day, 1729,  in  Leipsic.  It  is  in  two  parts, 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 


which  were  formerly  separated  by  the 
sermon,  and  employs  two  choirs,  each 
with  its  own  orchestra,  solo  singers  in 
all  the  classes  of  voices,  and  a  harpsi- 
chord to  accompany  all  the  recitatives, 
except  those  of  Jesus,  which  are  distin- 
guished by  being  accompanied  by  the 
orchestral  strings. 

In  the  nature  of  things  passions,  ora- 
torios, and  their  secular  cousins,  canta- 
tas, imply  scenes  and  actions,  and  there- 
fore have  a  remote  kinship  with  the 
lyric  drama.  The  literary  analogy  which 
they  suggest  is  the  epic  poem  as  contra- 
distinguished from  the  drama.  While 
the  drama  presents  incident,  the  oratorio 
relates,  expounds,  and  celebrates,  pre- 
senting it  to  the  fancy  through  the  ear 
instead  of  representing  it  to  the  eye.  A 
great  deal  of  looseness  has  crept  into 
this  department  of  music  as  into  every 
other,  and  the  various  forms  have  been 
approaching  each  other  until  in  some 
cases  it  is  become  difficult  to  say  which 
term,  opera  or  oratorio,  ought  to  be  ap- 
plied. Rubinstein's  "  sacred  operas  " 
are  oratorios  profusely  interspersed  with 
stage  directions,  many  of  which  are  im- 






of  the 

of  the 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

possible  of  scenic  realization.  Their 
whole  purpose  is  to  work  upon  the 
imagination  of  the  listeners  and  thus 
open  gate-ways  for  the  music.  Ever 
since  its  composition,  Saint  -  Saens's 
"  Samson  and  Delilah  "  has  held  a  place 
in  both  theatre  and  concert- room.  Liszt's 
"St.  Elizabeth"  has  been  found  more 
effective  when  provided  with  pictorial 
accessories  than  without.  The  greater 
part  of  "  Elijah  "  might  be  presented  in 
dramatic  form. 

Confusing  and  anomalous  as  these 
things  are,  they  find  their  explanation  in 
the  circumstance  that  the  oratorio  never 
quite  freed  itself  from  the  influence  of 
the  people's  Church  plays  in  which  it 
had  its  beginning.  As  a  distinct  art- 
form  it  began  in  a  mixture  of  artistic 
entertainment  and  religious  worship 
provided  in  the  early  part  of  the  six- 
teenth century  by  Filippo  Neri  (now  a 
saint)  for  those  who  came  for  pious  in- 
struction to  his  oratory  (whence  the 
name).  The  purpose  of  these  entertain- 
ments being  religious,  the  subjects  were 
Biblical,  and  though  the  musical  prog- 
ress from  the  beginning  was  along  the 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

line  of  the  lyric  drama,  contempora- 
neous in  origin  with  it,  the  music  natu- 
rally developed  into  broader  forms  on 
the  choral  side,  because  music  had  to 
make  up  for  the  lack  of  pantomime,  cos- 
tumes, and  scenery.  Hence  we  have 
not  only  the  preponderance  of  choruses 
in  the  oratorio  over  recitative,  arias, 
duets,  trios,  and  so  forth,  but  also  the 
adherence  in  the  choral  part  to  the  old 
manner  of  writing"  which  made  the  ex- 
pansion of  the  choruses  possible.  Where 
the  choruses  left  the  field  of  pure  reflec- 
tion and  became  narrative,  as  in  "  Israel 
in  Egypt,"  or  assumed  a  dramatic  char- 
acter, as  in  the  "  Elijah,"  the  composer 
found  in  them  vehicles  for  descriptive 
and  characteristic  music,  and  so  local 
color  came  into  use.  Characterization 
of  the  solo  parts  followed  as  a  matter  of 
course,  an  early  illustration  being  found 
in  the  manner  in  which  Bach  lifted  the 
words  of  Christ  into  prominence  by  sur- 
rounding them  with  the  radiant  halo 
which  streams  from  the  violin  accom- 
paniment. In  consequence  the  singer 
to  whom  was  assigned  the  task  of  sing- 
ing the  part  of  Jesus  presented  himself 



The  chora'   '• 



and  de- 




The  chorus 
in  opera 
and  ora- 

The  Mass. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

to  the  fancy  of  the  listeners  as  a  repre- 
sentative of  the  historical  personage — 
as  the  Christ  of  the  drama. 

The  growth  of  the  instrumental  art 
here  came  admirably  into  play,  and  so  it 
came  to  pass  that  opera  and  oratorio 
now  have  their  musical  elements  of  ex- 
pression in  common,  and  differ  only  in 
their  application  of  them — opera  fore- 
going the  choral  element  to  a  great  ex- 
tent as  being  a  hindrance  to  action,  and 
oratorio  elevating  it  to  make  good  the 
absence  of  scenery  and  action.  While 
oratorios  are  biblical  and  legendary, 
cantatas  deal  with  secular  subjects  and, 
in  the  form  of  dramatic  ballads,  find  a 
delightful  field  in  the  world  of  romance 
and  supernaturalism. 

Transferred  from  the  Church  to  the 
concert-room,  and  considered  as  an  art- 
form  instead  of  the  eucharistic  office, 
the  Mass  has  always  made  a  strong  ap- 
peal to  composers,  and  half  a  dozen 
masterpieces  of  missal  composition 
hold  places  in  the  concert  lists  of  the 
singing  societies.  Notable  among  these 
are  the  Requiems  of  Mozart,  Berlioz, 
and  Verdi,  and  the  Solemn  Mass  in  D  by 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

Beethoven.  These  works  represent  at 
one  and  the  same  time  the  climax  of  ac- 
complishment in  the  musical  treatment 
and  the  secularization  of  the  missal  text. 
They  are  the  natural  outcome  of  the  ex- 
pansion of  the  office  by  the  introduction 
of  the  orchestra  into  the  Church,  the 
departure  from  the  a  capella  style  of 
writing,  which  could  not  be  consorted 
with  the  orchestra,  and  the  growth  of  a 
desire  to  enhance  the  pomp  of  great 
occasions  in  the  Church  by  the  produc- 
tion of  masses  specially  composed  for 
them.  Under  such  circumstances  the 
devotional  purpose  of  the  mass  was 
lost  in  the  artistic,  and  composers  gave 
free  reign  to  their  powers,  for  which 
they  found  an  ample  stimulus  in  the 
missal  text 

The  first  effect,  and  the  one  which 
largely  justifies  the  adherents  of  the  old 
ecclesiastical  style  in  their  crusade 
against  the  Catholic  Church  music  of 
to-day,  was  to  make  the  masses  senti- 
mental and  operatic.  So  little  regard 
was  had  for  the  sentiment  of  the  words, 
so  little  respect  for  the  solemnity  of  the 
sacrament,  that  more  than  a  century  ago 



ization of 
the  Mass. 

tal masses. 



and  the 

The  masses 
for  the 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

Mozart  (whose  masses  are  far  from 
being  models  of  religious  expression) 
could  say  to  Cantor  Doles  of  a  Gloria 
which  the  latter  showed  him,  "  S'ist  ja 
alles  nix"  and  immediately  sing  the 
music  to  "Hoi's  der  Geier,  das  geht 
flink ! "  which  words,  he  said,  went 
better.  The  liberty  begotten  by  this 
license,  though  it  tended  to  ruin  the 
mass,  considered  strictly  as  a  liturgical 
service,  developed  it  musically.  The 
masses  for  the  dead  were  among  the 
earliest  to  feel  the  spirit  of  the  time,  for 
in  the  sequence,  Dies  irce,  they  con- 
tained the  dramatic  element  which  the 
solemn  mass  lacked.  The  Kyrie,  Credo, 
Gloria,  Sanctus,  and  Agnus  Dei  are 
purely  lyrical,  and  though  the  evolu- 
tionary movement  ended  in  Beethoven 
conceiving  certain  portions  (notably  the 
Agnus  Dei}  in  a  dramatic  sense,  it  was 
but  natural  that  so  far  as  tradition  fixed 
the  disposition  and  formal  style  of  the 
various  parts,  it  should  not  be  dis- 
turbed. At  an  early  date  the  compos- 
ers began  to  put  forth  their  powers  of 
description  in  the  Dies  ires,  however,  and 
there  is  extant  in  a  French  mass  an 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

amusing  example  of  the  length  to 
which  tone-painting  in  this  music  was 
carried  by  them.  Gossec  wrote  a  Re- 
quiem on  the  death  of  Mirabeau  which 
became  famous.  The  words,  Quantus 
tremor  est  futurus,  he  set  so  that  on 
each  syllable  there  were  repetitions, 
staccato,  of  a  single  tone,  thus : 

This  absurd  stuttering  Gossec  de- 
signed to  picture  the  terror  inspired  by 
the  coming  of  the  Judge  at  the  last 

The  development  of  instrumentation 
placed  a  factor  in  the  hands  of  these 
writers  which  they  were  not  slow  to 
utilize,  especially  in  writing  music  for 



Gossec  s 

The  orches- 
tra in  the 








How  to  Listen  to  Music 

the  Dies  ir<z>  and  how  effectively  Mo- 
zart used  the  orchestra  in  his  Requiem 
it  is  not  necessary  to  state.  It  is  a  safe 
assumption  that  Beethoven's  Mass  in  D 
was  largely  instrumental  in  inspiring 
Berlioz  to  set  the  Requiem  as  he  did. 
With  Beethoven  the  dramatic  idea  is 
the  controlling  one,  and  so  it  is  with 
Berlioz.  Beethoven,  while  showing  a 
reverence  for  the  formulas  of  the  Church, 
and  respecting  the  tradition  which  gave 
the  Kyrie  a  triple  division  and  made 
fugue  movements  out  of  the  phrases 
"  Cum  sancto  spiritu  in  gloria  Dei  patris — 
Amen,"  " Et  vitam  venturi"  and  "  Osanna 
in  excelsis"  nevertheless  gave  his  com- 
position a  scope  which  placed  it  beyond 
the  apparatus  of  the  Church,  and  filled 
it  with  a  spirit  that  spurns  the  limita- 
tions of  any  creed  of  less  breadth  and 
universality  than  the  grand  Theism 
which  affectionate  communion  with  nat- 
ure had  taught  him. 

Berlioz,  less  religious,  less  reverential, 
but  equally  fired  by  the  solemnity  and 
majesty  of  the  matter  given  into  his 
hands,  wrote  a  work  in  which  he  placed 
his  highest  conception  of  the  awfulness 

Choirs  and  Choral  Music 

of  the  Last  Judgment  and  the  emotions 
which  are  awakened  by  its  contempla- 
tion. In  respect  of  the  instrumentation 
he  showed  a  far  greater  audacity  than 
Beethoven  displayed  even  in  the  much- 
mooted  trumpets  and  drums  of  the  Ag- 
nus Dei,  where  he  introduces  the  sounds 
of  war  to  heighten  the  intensity  of  the 
prayer  for  peace,  "  Dona  nobis  pacem" 
This  is  talked  about  in  the  books  as  a 
bold  innovation.  It  seems  to  have  es- 
caped notice  that  the  idea  had  occurred 
to  Haydn  twenty-four  years  before  and 
been  realized  by  him.  In  1796  Haydn 
wrote  a  mass,  "  In  Tempore  Belli,"  the 
French  army  being  at  the  time  in  Stey- 
ermark.  He  set  the  words,  "  Agnus  Dei 
qui tollis peccata  mundi"  to  an  accompan- 
iment of  drums,  "  as  if  the  enemy  were 
already  heard  coming  in  the  distance." 
He  went  farther  than  this  in  a  Mass  in 
D  minor,  when  he  accompanied  the  Be- 
nedictus  with  fanfares  of  trumpets.  But 
all  such  timid  ventures  in  the  use  of  in- 
struments in  the  mass  sink  into  utter 
insignificance  when  compared  with  Ber- 
lioz's apparatus  in  the  Tuba  mirum  of 
his  Requiem,  which  supplements  the  or- 



ejects  in 



How  to  Listen  to  Music 


dinary  symphonic  orchestra,  some  of  its 
instruments  already  doubled,  with  four 
brass  bands  of  eight  or  ten  instruments 
each,  sixteen  extra  drums,  and  a  tam- 


Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

1HAVE  been  told  that  there  are 
many  people  who  read  the  news- 
papers on  the  day  after  they  have  at- 
tended a  concert  or  operatic  represen- 
tation for  the  purpose  of  finding  out 
whether  or  not  the  performance  gave 
them  proper  or  sufficient  enjoyment. 
It  would  not  be  becoming  in  me  to 
inquire  too  curiously  into  the  truth  of 
such  a  statement,  and  in  view  of  a  de- 
nunciation spoken  in  the  introductory 
chapter  of  this  book,  I  am  not  sure  that 
it  is  not  a  piece  of  arrogance,  or  impu- 
dence, on  my  part  to  undertake  in 
any  way  to  justify  any  critical  writing 
on  the  subject  of  music.  Certain  it  is 
that  some  men  who  write  about  music 
for  the  newspapers  believe,  or  affect  to 
believe,  that  criticism  is  worthless,  and 


The  news- 
papers and 
the  public. 


ship  be- 
critic,  and 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

I  shall  not  escape  the  charge  of  incon- 
sistency, if,  after  I  have  condemned  the 
blunders  of  literary  men,  who  are  lay- 
men in  music,  and  separated  the  major- 
ity of  professional  writers  on  the  art 
into  pedants  and  rhapsodists,  I  never- 
theless venture  to  discuss  the  nature 
and  value  of  musical  criticism.  Yet, 
surely,  there  must  be  a  right  and  wrong 
in  this  as  in  every  other  thing,  and  just 
as  surely  the  present  structure  of  so- 
ciety, which  rests  on  the  newspaper, 
invites  attention  to  the  existing  rela- 
tionship between  musician,  critic,  and 
public  as  an  important  element  in  the 
question  How  to  Listen  to  Music. 

As  a  condition  precedent  to  the  dis- 
cussion of  this  new  element  in  the  case, 
I  lay  down  the  proposition  that  the 
relationship  between  the  three  factors 
enumerated  is  so  intimate  and  so  strict 
that  the  world  over  they  rise  and  fall 
together ;  which  means  that  where  the 
people  dwell  who  have  reached  the 
highest  plane  of  excellence,  there  also 
are  to  be  found  the  highest  types  of 
the  musician  and  critic ;  and  that  in 
the  degree  in  which  the  three  factors, 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

which  united  make  up  the  sum  of  mu- 
sical activity,  labor  harmoniously,  con- 
scientiously, and  unselfishly,  each  striv- 
ing to  fulfil  its  mission,  they  advance 
music  and  further  themselves,  each 
bearing  off  an  equal  share  of  the  good 
derived  from  the  common  effort.  I 
have  set  the  factors  down  in  the  order 
which  they  ordinarily  occupy  in  popu- 
lar discussion  and  which  symbolizes 
their  proper  attitude  toward  each  other 
and  the  highest  potency  of  their  collab- 
oration. In  this  collaboration,  as  in  so 
many  others,  it  is  conflict  that  brings 
life.  Only  by  a  surrender  of  their 
functions,  one  to  the  other,  could  the 
three  apparently  dissonant  yet  essen- 
tially harmonious  factors  be  brought 
into  a  state  of  complacency ;  but  such 
complacency  would  mean  stagnation. 
If  the  published  judgment  on  composi- 
tions and  performances  could  always  be 
that  of  the  exploiting  musicians,  that 
class,  at  least,  would  read  the  news- 
papers with  fewer  heart-burnings;  if  the 
critics  had  a  common  mind  and  it  were 
followed  in  concert  -  room  and  opera- 
house,  they,  as  well  as  the  musicians, 




The  need 
and  value 
of  conflict. 



The  critic 
an  fsh- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

would  have  need  of  fewer  words  of  dis- 
placency  and  more  of  approbation  ;  if, 
finally,  it  were  to  be  brought  to  pass  that 
for  the  public  nothing  but  amiable  di- 
version should  flow  simultaneously  from 
platform,  stage,  and  press,  then  for  the 
public  would  the  millennium  be  come. 
A  religious  philosopher  can  transmute 
Adam's  fall  into  a  blessing,  and  we  can 
recognize  the  wisdom  of  that  dispensa- 
tion which  put  enmity  between  the  seed 
of  Jubal,  who  was  the  "  father  of  all 
such  as  handle  the  harp  and  pipe,"  and 
the  seed  of  Saul,  who,  I  take  it,  is  the 
first  critic  of  record  (and  a  vigorous  one, 
too,  for  he  accentuated  his  unfavorable 
opinion  of  a  harper's  harping  with  a 
javelin  thrust). 

We  are  bound  to  recognize  that  be- 
tween the  three  factors  there  is,  ever 
was,  and  ever  shall  be  in  scecula  sceculorum 
an  irrepressible  conflict,  and  that  in  the 
nature  of  things  the  middle  factor  is  the 
Ishmaelite  whose  hand  is  raised  against 
everybody  and  against  whom  every- 
body's hand  is  raised.  The  compla- 
cency of  the  musician  and  the  indiffer- 
ence, not  to  say  ignorance,  of  the  public 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

ordinarily  combine  to  make  them  allies, 
and  the  critic  is,  therefore,  placed  be- 
tween two  millstones,  where  he  is  vigor- 
ously rasped  on  both  sides,  and  whence, 
being  angular  and  hard  of  outer  shell, 
he  frequently  requites  the  treatment 
received  with  complete  and  energetic 
reciprocity.  Is  he  therefore  to  be  pit- 
ied ?  Not  a  bit ;  for  in  this  position  he 
is  performing  one  of  the  most  significant 
and  useful  of  his  functions,  and  disclos- 
ing one  of  his  most  precious  virtues. 
While  musician  and  public  must  per- 
force remain  in  the  positions  in  which 
they  have  been  placed  with  relation  to 
each  other  it  must  be  apparent  at  half 
a  glance  that  it  would  be  the  simplest 
matter  in  the  world  for  the  critic  to  ex- 
tricate himself  from  his  predicament. 
He  would  only  need  to  take  his  cue 
from  the  public,  measuring  his  commen- 
dation by  the  intensity  of  their  applause, 
his  dispraise  by  their  signs  of  displeas- 
ure, and  all  would  be  well  with  him. 
We  all  know  this  to  be  true,  that  people 
like  to  read  that  which  flatters  them  by 
echoing  their  own  thoughts.  The  more 
delightfully  it  is  put  by  the  writer  the 



The  critic 
not  to  be 

How  he 



The  public 
like  to  be 

The  critic 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

more  the  reader  is  pleased,  for  has  he 
not  had  the  same  idea?  Are  they  not 
his  ?  Is  not  their  appearance  in  a  public 
print  proof  of  the  shrewdness  and  sound- 
ness of  his  judgment?  Ruskin  knows 
this  foible  in  human  nature  and  con- 
demns it.  You  may  read  in  "  Sesame 
and  Lilies : " 

"  Very  ready  we  are  to  say  of  a  book, '  How  good 
this  is— that's  exactly  what  I  think ! '  But  the 
right  feeling  is,  '  How  strange  that  is !  I  never 
thought  of  that  before,  and  yet  I  see  it  is  true  ;  or 
if  I  do  not  now,  I  hope  I  shall,  some  day.'  But 
whether  thus  submissively  or  not,  at  least  be  sure 
that  you  go  at  the  author  to  get  at  his  meaning,  not 
to  find  yours.  Judge  it  afterward  if  you  think 
yourself  qualified  to  do  so,  but  ascertain  it  first." 

As  a  rule,  however,  the  critic  is  not 
guilty  of  the  wrong  of  speaking  out  the 
thought  of  others,  but  publishes  what 
there  is  of  his  own  mind,  and  this  I  laud 
in  him  as  a  virtue,  which  is  praisewor- 
thy in  the  degree  that  it  springs  from 
loftiness  of  aim,  depth  of  knowledge,  and 
sincerity  and  unselfishness  of  purpose. 

Let  us  look  a  little  into  the  views 
which  our  factors  do  and  those  which 
they  ought  to  entertain  of  each  other. 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

The  utterances  of  musicians  have  long 
ago  made  it  plain  that  as  between  the 
critic  and  the  public  the  greater  meas- 
ure of  their  respect  and  deference  is 
given  to  the  public.  The  critic  is  bound 
to  recognize  this  as  entirely  natural ; 
his  right  of  protest  does  not  accrue 
until  he  can  show  that  the  deference  is 
ignoble  and  injurious  to  good  art.  It  is 
to  the  public  that  the  musician  appeals 
for  the  substantial  signs  of  what  is  called 
success.  This  appeal  to  the  jury  instead 
of  the  judge  is  as  characteristic  of  the 
conscientious  composer  who  is  sincere- 
ly convinced  that  he  was  sent  into  the 
world  to  widen  the  boundaries  of  art, 
as  it  is  of  the  mere  time-server  who 
aims  only  at  tickling  the  popular  ear. 
The  reason  is  obvious  to  a  little  close 
thinking  :  Ignorance  is  at  once  a  safe- 
guard against  and  a  promoter  of  con- 
servatism. This  sounds  like  a  paradox, 
but  the  rapid  growth  of  Wagner's  music 
in  the  admiration  of  the  people  of  the 
United  States  might  correctly  be  cited 
as  a  proof  that  the  statement  is  true. 
Music  like  the  concert  fragments  from 
Wagner's  lyric  dramas  is  accepted 




The  office 



of  Wag- 
ner's music 
not  a  sign 
of  intelli- 
gent appre- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

with  promptitude  and  delight,  because 
its  elements  are  those  which  appeal 
most  directly  and  forcibly  to  our  sense- 
perception  and  those  primitive  tastes 
which  are  the  most  readily  gratified  by 
strong  outlines  and  vivid  colors.  Their 
vigorous  rhythms,  wealth  of  color,  and 
sonority  would  make  these  fragments 
far  more  impressive  to  a  savage  than  the 
suave  beauty  of  a  symphony  by  Haydn  ; 
yet  do  we  not  all  know  that  while 
whole-hearted,  intelligent  enjoyment  of 
a  Haydn  symphony  is  conditioned  up- 
on a  considerable  degree  of  culture,  an 
equally  whole-hearted,  intelligent  ap- 
preciation of  Wagner's  music  presup- 
poses a  much  wider  range  of  sympathy, 
a  much  more  extended  view  of  the  ca- 
pabilities of  musical  expression,  a  much 
keener  discernment,  and  a  much  pro- 
founder  susceptibility  to  the  effects  of 
harmonic  progressions?  And  is  the 
conclusion  not  inevitable,  therefore, 
that  on  the  whole  the  ready  acceptance 
of  Wagner's  music  by  a  people  is  evi- 
dence that  they  are  not  sufficiently  cult- 
ured to  feel  the  force  of  that  conserva- 
tism which  made  the  triumph  of  Wag- 


Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

ner  consequent  on  many  years  of  agita- 
tion in  musical  Germany  ? 

In  one  case  the  appeal  is  elemental ; 
in  the  other  spiritual.  He  who  wishes 
to  be  in  advance  of  his  time  does  wisely 
in  going  to  the  people  instead  of  the 
critics,  just  as  the  old  fogy  does  whose 
music  belongs  to  the  time  when  sen- 
suous charm  summed  up  its  essence. 
There  is  a  good  deal  of  ambiguity  about 
the  stereotyped  phrase  "  ahead  of  one's 
time."  Rightly  apprehended,  great 
geniuses  do  live  for  the  future  rather 
than  the  present,  but  where  the  public 
have  the  vastness  of  appetite  and  scant- 
ness  of  taste  peculiar  to  the  ostrich, 
there  it  is  impossible  for  a  composer  to 
be  ahead  of  his  time.  It  is  only  where 
the  public  are  advanced  to  the  stage  of 
intelligent  discrimination  that  a  Ninth 
Symphony  and  a  Nibelung  Tetralogy 
are  accepted  slowly. 

Why  the  charlatan  should  profess  to 
despise  the  critic  and  to  pay  homage 
only  to  the  public  scarcely  needs  an 
explanation.  It  is  the  critic  who  stands 
between  him  and  the  public  he  would 
victimize.  Much  of  the  disaffection  be- 



' '  Ahead  of 
one  s  time" 




ing the 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

tween  the  concert-giver  and  the  concert- 
reviewer  arises  from  the  unwillingness 
of  the  latter  to  enlist  in  a  conspiracy  to 
deceive  and  defraud  the  public.  There 
is  no  need  of  mincing  phrases  here. 
The  critics  of  the  newspaper  press  are 
besieged  daily  with  requests  for  notices 
of  a  complimentary  character  touching 
persons  who  have  no  honest  standing 
in  art.  They  are  fawned  on,  truckled 
to,  cajoled,  subjected  to  the  most  seduc- 
tive influences,  sometimes  bribed  with 
woman's  smiles  or  manager's  money 
—and  why  ?  To  win  their  influence  in 
favor  of  good  art,  think  you  ?  No ;  to 
feed  vanity  and  greed.  When  a  critic 
is  found  of  sufficient  self-respect  and 
character  to  resist  all  appeals  and  to 
be  proof  against  all  temptations,  who 
is  quicker  than  the  musician  to  cite 
against  his  opinion  the  applause  of  the 
public  over  whose  gullibility  and  igno- 
rance, perchance,  he  made  merry  with 
the  critic  while  trying  to  purchase  his 
independence  and  honor  ? 

It  is  only  when  musicians  divide  the 
question  touching  the  rights  and  merits 
of  public  and  critic  that  they  seem  able 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

to  put  a  correct  estimate  upon  the  value 
of  popular  approval.  At  the  last  the 
best  of  them  are  willing,  with  Ferdi- 
nand Hiller,  to  look  upon  the  public  as 
an  elemental  power  like  the  weather, 
which  must  be  taken  as  it  chances  to 
come.  With  modern  society  resting 
upon  the  newspaper  they  might  be 
willing  to  view  the  critic  in  the  same 
light ;  but  this  they  will  not  do  so  long 
as  they  adhere  to  the  notion  that  criti- 
cism belongs  of  right  to  the  professional 
musician,  and  will  eventually  be  handed 
over  to  him.  As  for  the  critic,  he  may 
recognize  the  naturalness  and  reason- 
ableness of  a  final  resort  for  judgment 
to  the  factor  for  whose  sake  art  is 
(i.e.,  the  public),  but  he  is  not  bound  to 
admit  its  unfailing  righteousness.  Up- 
on him,  so  he  be  worthy  of  his  office, 
weighs  the  duty  of  first  determining 
whether  the  appeal  is  taken  from  a 
lofty  purpose  or  a  low  one,  and  whether 
or  not  the  favored  tribunal  is  worthy  to 
try  the  case.  Those  who  show  a  will- 
ingness to  accept  low  ideals  cannot  ex- 
act high  ones.  The  influence  of  their 
applause  is  a  thousand-fold  more  injuri- 



an  ele- 

Critic  and 






tion of  the 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

ous  to  art  than  the  strictures  of  the 
most  acrid  critic.  A  musician  of  Schu- 
mann's mental  and  moral  stature  could 
recognize  this  and  make  it  the  basis  of 
some  of  his  most  forcible  aphorisms : 

"  '  It  pleased,'  or  *  It  did  not  please,'  say  the  peo- 
ple ;  as  if  there  were  no  higher  purpose  than  to 
please  the  people." 

"  The  most  difficult  thing  in  the  world  to  endure 
is  the  applause  of  fools ! " 

The  belief  professed  by  many  musi- 
cians— professed,  not  really  held — that 
the  public  can  do  no  wrong,  unquestion- 
ably grows  out  of  a  depreciation  of  the 
critic  rather  than  an  appreciation  of  the 
critical  acumen  of  the  masses.  This  de- 
preciation is  due  more  to  the  concrete 
work  of  the  critic  (which  is  only  too 
often  deserving  of  condemnation)  than 
to  a  denial  of  the  good  offices  of  crit- 
icism. This  much  should  be  said  for 
the  musician,  who  is  more  liable  to  be 
misunderstood  and  more  powerless 
against  misrepresentation  than  any 
other  artist.  A  line  should  be  drawn 
between  mere  expression  of  opinion  and 
criticism.  It  has  been  recognized  for 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

ages — you  may  find  it  plainly  set  forth 
in  Quintilian  and  Cicero — that  in  the 
long  run  the  public  are  neither  bad 
judges  nor  good  critics.  The  distinc- 
tion suggests  a  thought  about  the  differ- 
ence in  value  between  a  popular  and  a 
critical  judgment.  The  former  is,  in 
the  nature  of  things,  ill  considered  and 
fleeting.  It  is  the  product  of  a  momen- 
tary gratification  or  disappointment.  In 
a  much  greater  degree  than  a  judgment 
based  on  principle  and  precedent,  such 
as  a  critic's  ought  to  be,  it  is  a  judgment 
swayed  by  that  variable  thing  called 
fashion — "  Qualpibm  al  vento" 

But  if  this  be  so  we  ought  plainly  to 
understand  the  duties  and  obligations 
of  the  critic  ;  perhaps  it  is  because  there 
is  much  misapprehension  on  this  point 
that  critics'  writings  have  fallen  under 
their  own  condemnation.  I  conceive 
that  the  first,  if  not  the  sole,  office  of  the 
critic  should  be  to  guide  public  judg- 
ment. It  is  not  for  him  to  instruct  the 
musician  in  his  art.  If  this  were  always 
borne  in  mind  by  writers  for  the  press 
it  might  help  to  soften  the  asperity  felt 
by  the  musician  toward  the  critic ;  and 



Value  of 



Duties  of 
the  critic. 



The  musi- 
cians duty 
toward  the 

The  critic 
steady  fub- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

possibly  the  musician  might  then  be 
persuaded  to  perform  his  first  office  tow- 
ard the  critic,  which  is  to  hold  up  his 
hands  while  he  labors  to  steady  and 
dignify  public  opinion.  No  true  artist 
would  give  up  years  of  honorable  esteem 
to  be  the  object  for  a  moment  of  fever- 
ish idolatry.  The  public  are  fickle. 
"  The  garlands  they  twine,"  says  Schu- 
mann, "  they  always  pull  to  pieces  again 
to  offer  them  in  another  form  to  the 
next  comer  who  chances  to  know  how 
to  amuse  them  better."  Are  such  gar- 
lands worth  the  sacrifice  of  artistic 
honor  ?  If  it  were  possible  for  the  critic 
to  withhold  them  and  offer  instead  a 
modest  sprig  of  enduring  bay,  would 
not  the  musician  be  his  debtor? 

Another  thought.  Conceding  that 
the  people  are  the  elemental  power  that 
Hiller  says  they  are,  who  shall  save 
them  from  the  changeableness  and  in- 
stability which  they  show  with  relation 
to  music  and  her  votaries  ?  Who  shall 
bid  the  restless  waves  be  still  ?  We,  in 
America,  are  a  new  people,  a  vast  hotch- 
potch of  varied  and  contradictory  ele- 
ments. We  are  engaged  in  conquering 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

a  continent ;  employed  in  a  mad  scram- 
ble for  material  things ;  we  give  feverish 
hours  to  win  the  comfort  for  our  bodies 
that  we  take  only  seconds  to  enjoy  ;  the 
moments  which  we  steal  from  our  labors 
we  give  grudgingly  to  relaxation,  and 
that  this  relaxation  may  come  quickly 
we  ask  that  the  agents  which  produce 
it  shall  appeal  violently  to  the  faculties 
which  are  most  easily  reached.  Under 
these  circumstances  whence  are  to  come 
the  intellectual  poise,  the  refined  taste, 
the  quick  and  sure  power  of  analysis 
which  must  precede  a  correct  estimate 
of  the  value  of  a  composition  or  its  per- 
formance ? 

"  A  taste  or  judgment,"  said  Shaftesbury,  "does 
not  come  ready  formed  with  us  into  this  world. 
Whatever  principles  or  materials  of  this  kind  we 
may  possibly  bring  with  us,  a  legitimate  and  just 
taste  can  neither  be  begotten,  made,  conceived,  or 
produced  without  the  antecedent  labor  and  pains  of 

Grant  that  this  antecedent  criticism 
is  the  province  of  the  critic  and  that  he 
approaches  even  remotely  a  fulfilment 
of  his  mission  in  this  regard,  and  who 
shall  venture  to  question  the  value  and 


Taste  and 
must  be 



tive quali- 
fications of 
critic  and 

The  critic  s 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

the  need  of  criticism  to  the  promotion 
of  public  opinion?  In  this  work  the 
critic  has  a  great  advantage  over  the 
musician.  The  musician  appeals  to  the 
public  with  volatile  and  elusive  sounds. 
When  he  gets  past  the  tympanum  of  the 
ear  he  works  upon  the  emotions  and  the 
fancy.  The  public  have  no  time  to  let 
him  do  more ;  for  the  rest  they  are  will- 
ing to  refer  him  to  the  critic,  whose 
business  it  is  continually  to  hear  music 
for  the  purpose  of  forming  opinions 
about  it  and  expressing  them.  Th*e 
critic  has  both  the  time  and  the  obliga- 
tion to  analyze  the  reasons  why  and  the 
extent  to  which  the  faculties  are  stirred 
into  activity.  Is  it  not  plain,  therefore, 
that  the  critic  ought  to  be  better  able  to 
distinguish  the  good  from  the  bad,  the 
true  from  the  false,  the  sound  from  the 
meretricious,  than  the  unindividualized 
multitude,  who  are  already  satisfied 
when  they  have  felt  the  ticklings  of 

But  when  we  place  so  great  a  mission 
as  the  education  of  public  taste  before 
the  critic,  we  saddle  him  with  a  vast  re- 
sponsibility which  is  quite  evenly  divided 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

between  the  musician  and  the  public. 
The  responsibility  toward  the  musician 
is  not  that  which  we  are  accustomed  to 
hear  harped  on  by  the  aggrieved  ones 
on  the  day  after  a  concert.  It  is  toward 
the  musician  only  as  a  representative  of 
art,  and  his  just  claims  can  have  nothing 
of  selfishness  in  them.  The  abnormal 
sensitiveness  of  the  musician  to  criti- 
cism, though  it  may  excite  his  commis- 
eration and  even  honest  pity,  should 
never  count  with  the  critic  in  the  per- 
formance of  a  plain  duty.  This  sensi- 
tiveness is  the  product  of  a  low  state  in 
music  as  well  as  criticism,  and  in  the 
face  of  improvement  in  the  two  fields  it 
will  either  disappear  or  fall  under  a  kill- 
ing condemnation.  The  power  of  the 
press  will  here  work  for  good.  The 
newspaper  now  fills  the  place  in  the 
musician's  economy  which  a  century 
ago  was  filled  in  Europe  by  the  courts 
and  nobility.  Its  support,  indirect  as 
well  as  direct,  replaces  the  patronage 
which  erstwhile  came  from  these  power- 
ful ones.  The  evils  which  flow  from  the 
changed  conditions  are  different  in  ex- 
tent but  n6t  in  kind  from  the  old.  Too 


Toward  the 

of  the  news- 



The  musi- 
cian should 
help  'to  ele- 
vate the 
standard  of 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

frequently  for  the  good  of  art  that  sup- 
port  is  purchased  by  the  same  crookings 
of  "  the  pregnant  hinges  of  the  knee  " 
that  were  once  the  price  of  royal  or 
noble  condescension.  If  the  tone  of 
the  press  at  times  becomes  arrogant,  it 
is  from  the  same  causes  that  raised  the 
voices  and  curled  the  lips  of  the  petty 
dukes  and  princes,  to  flatter  whose  van- 
ity great  artists  used  to  labor. 

The  musician  knows  as  well  as  any- 
one how  impossible  it  is  to  escape  the 
press,  and  it  is,  therefore,  his  plain  duty 
to  seek  to  raise  the  standard  of  its  utter- 
ances by  conceding  the  rights  of  the 
critic  and  encouraging  honesty,  fearless- 
ness, impartiality,  intelligence,  and  sym- 
pathy wherever  he  finds  them.  To  this 
end  he  must  cast  away  many  antiquated 
and  foolish  prejudices.  He  must  learn 
to  confess  with  Wagner,  the  arch-enemy 
of  criticism,  that  "  blame  is  much  more 
useful  to  the  artist  than  praise,"  and 
that  "the  musician  who  goes  to  de- 
struction because  he  is  faulted,  deserves 
destruction."  He  must  stop  the  conten- 
tion that  only  a  musician  is  entitled  to 
criticise  a  musician,  and  without  abat- 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

ing  one  jot  of  his  requirements  as  to 
knowledge,  sympathy,  liberality,  broad- 
mindedness,  candor,  and  incorruptibility 
on  the  part  of  the  critic,  he  must  quit 
the  foolish  claim  that  to  pronounce 
upon  the  excellence  of  a  ragout  one 
must  be  able  to  cook  it;  if  he  will  not 
go  farther  he  must,  at  least,  go  with  the 
elder  D'  Israeli  to  the  extent  of  saying 
that  "  the  talent  of  judgment  may  exist 
separately  from  the  power  of  execu- 
tion." One  need  not  be  a  composer,  but 
one  must  be  able  to  feel  with  a  com- 
poser before  he  can  discuss  his  produc- 
tions as  they  ought  to  be  discussed. 
Not  all  the  writers  for  the  press  are 
able  to  do  this  ;  many  depend  upon  ef- 
frontery and  a  copious  use  of  technical 
phrases  to  carry  them  through.  The 
musician,  alas !  encourages  this  method 
whenever  he  gets  a  chance;  nine  times 
out  of  ten,  when  an  opportunity  to  re- 
view a  composition  fails  to  him,  he  ap- 
proaches it  on  its  technical  side.  Yet 
music  is  of  all  the  arts  in  the  world  the 
last  that  a  mere  pedant  should  discuss. 

But  if  not  a  mere  pedant,  then  neither 
a  mere  sentimentalist. 


A  critic 
must  not 
be  a  musi- 

not  wanted. 





How  to  Listen  to  Music 

"  If  I  had  to  choose  between  the  merits  of  two 
classes  of  hearers,  one  of  whom  had  an  intelligent 
appreciation  of  music  without  feeling  emotion ;  the 
other  an  emotional  feeling  without  an  intelligent 
analysis,  I  should  unhesitatingly  decide  in  favor  of 
the  intelligent  non-emotionalist.  And  for  these  rea- 
sons :  The  verdict  of  the  intelligent  non-emotion- 
alist would  be  valuable  as  far  as  it  goes,  but  that  of 
the  untrained  emotionalist  is  not  of  the  smallest 
value;  his  blame  and  his  praise  are  equally  un- 
founded and  empty." 

So  writes  Dr.  Stainer,  and  it  is  his 
emotionalist  against  whom  I  uttered  a 
warning  in  the  introductory  chapter  of 
this  book,  when  I  called  him  a  rhapsodist 
and  described  his  motive  to  be  prima- 
rily a  desire  to  present  himself  as  a  per- 
son of  unusually  exquisite  sensibilities. 
Frequently  the  rhapsodic  style  is 
adopted  to  conceal  a  want  of  knowl- 
edge, and,  I  fancy,  sometimes  also  be- 
cause ill -equipped  critics  have  per- 
suaded themselves  that  criticism  being 
worthless,  what  the  public  need  to  read 
is  a  fantastic  account  of  how  music  af- 
fects them.  Now,  it  is  true  that  what 
is  chiefly  valuable  in  criticism  is  what  a 
man  qualified  to  think  and  feel  tells  us 
he  did  think  and  feel  under  the  inspira- 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

tion  of  a  performance ;  but  when  car- 
ried  too  far,  or  restricted  too  much,  this 
conception  of  a  critic's  province  lifts 
personal  equation  into  dangerous  promi- 
nence in  the  critical  activity,  and  depre- 
ciates the  elements  of  criticism,  which 
are  not  matters  of  opinion  or  taste  at 
all,  but  questions  of  fact,  as  exactly 
demonstrable  as  a  problem  in  mathe- 
matics. In  musical  performance  these 
elements  belong  to  the  technics  of  the 
art.  Granted  that  the  critic  has  a  cor- 
rect ear,  a  thing  which  he  must  have  if 
he  aspire  to  be  a  critic  at  all,  and  the 
possession  of  which  is  as  easily  proved 
as  that  of  a  dollar-bill  in  his  pocket, 
the  questions  of  justness  of  intonation 
in  a  singer  or  instrumentalist,  balance 
of  tone  in  an  orchestra,  correctness  of 
phrasing,  and  many  other  things,  are 
mere  determinations  of  fact ;  the  facul- 
ties which  recognize  their  existence 
or  discover  their  absence  might  exist 
in  a  person  who  is  not  "  moved  by  con- 
cord  of  sweet  sounds "  at  all,  and 
whose  taste  is  of  the  lowest  type.  It 
was  the  acoustician  Euler.  1  believe, 
who  said  that  he  could  construct  a  so- 





The  Rhap- 

An  English 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

nata  according  to  the  laws   of  mathe- 
matics— figure  one  out,  that  is. 

Because  music  is  in  its  nature  such  a 
mystery,  because  so  little  of  its  philos- 
ophy, so  little  of  its  science  is  popularly 
known,  there  has  grown  up  the  tribe  of 
rhapsodical  writers  whose  influence  is 
most  pernicious.  I  have  a  case  in  mind 
at  which  I  have  already  hinted  in  this 
book — that  of  a  certain  English  gentle- 
man who  has  gained  considerable  emi- 
nence because  of  the  loveliness  of  the 
subject  on  which  he  writes  and  his 
deftness  in  putting  words  together.  On 
many  points  he  is  qualified  to  speak, 
and  on  these  he  generally  speaks  enter- 
tainingly. He  frequently  blunders  in 
details,  but  it  is  only  when  he  writes 
in  the  manner  exemplified  in  the  fol- 
lowing excerpt  from  his  book  called 
"  My  Musical  Memories,"  that  he  does 
mischief.  The  reverend  gentleman, 
talking  about  violins,  has  reached  one 
that  once  belonged  to  Ernst.  This,  he 
says,  he  sees  occasionally,  but  he  never 
hears  it  more  except 

"  In  the  night  .  .  .  under  the  stars,  when 
the  moon  is  low  and  I  see  the  dark  ridges  of  the 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

clover  hills,  and  rabbits  and  hares,  black  against  the 
paler  sky,  pausing  to  feed  or  crouching  to  listen  to 
the  voices  of  the  night.  .  .  . 

"  By  the  sea,  when  the  cold  mists  rise,  and  hol- 
low murmurs,  like  the  low  wail  of  lost  spirits,  rush 
along  the  beach.  .  .  . 

"  In  some  still  valley  in  the  South,  in  midsum- 
mer. The  slate-colored  moth  on  the  rock  flashes 
suddenly  into  crimson  and  takes  wing ;  the  bright 
lizard  darts  timorously,  and  the  singing  of  the  grass- 
hopper  " 

Well,  the  reader,  if  he  has  a  liking 
for  such  things,  may  himself  go  on  for 
quantity.  This  is  intended,  I  fancy,  for 
poetical  hyperbole,  but  as  a  matter  of 
fact  it  is  something  else,  and  worse. 
Mr.  Haweis  does  not  hear  Ernst's  vio- 
lin under  any  such  improbable  condi- 
tions ;  if  he  thinks  he  does  he  is  a 
proper  subject  for  medical  inquiry. 
Neither  does  his  effort  at  fine  writing 
help  us  to  appreciate  the  tone  of  the  in- 
strument. He  did  not  intend  that  it 
should,  but  he  probably  did  intend  to 
make  the  reader  marvel  at  the  exquisite 
sensibility  of  his  soul  to  music.  This  is 
mischievous,  for  it  tends  to  make  the  in- 
judicious think  that  they  are  lacking  in 
musical  appreciation,  unless  they,  too, 




ous writ- 



and  sanity. 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 


can  see  visions  and  hear  voices  and 
dream  fantastic  dreams  when  music  is 
sounding.  When  such  writing  is  popu- 
lar it  is  difficult  to  make  men  and  women 
belie\e  that  they  may  be  just  as  suscep- 
tible to  the  influence  of  music  as  the 
child  Mozart  was  to  the  sound  of  a 
trumpet,  yet  listen  to  it  without  once 
feeling  the  need  of  taking  leave  of  their 
senses  or  wandering  away  from  sanity. 
Moreover,  when  Mr.  Haweis  says  that 
he  sees  but  does  not  hear  Ernst's  violin 
more,  he  speaks  most  undeserved  dis- 
praise of  one  of  the  best  violin  players 
alive,  for  Ernst's  violin  now  belongs  to 
and  is  played  by  Lady  Halle" — she  that 
was  Madame  Norman-Neruda. 

Is  there,  then,  no  place  for  rhapsodic 
writing  in  musical  criticism  ?  Yes,  de- 
cidedly. It  may,  indeed,  at  times  be  the 
best,  because  the  truest,  writing.  One 
would  convey  but  a  sorry  idea  of  a  com- 
position were  he  to  confine  himself  to  a 
technical  description  of  it — the  number 
of  its  measures,  its  intervals,  modula- 
tions, speed,  and  rhythm.  Such  a  de- 
scription would  only  be  comprehensible 
to  the  trained  musician,  and  to  him 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

would  picture  the  body  merely,  not  the 
soul.  One  might  as  well  hope  to  tell  of 
the  beauty  of  a  statue  by  reciting  its  di- 
mensions. But  knowledge  as  well  as 
sympathy  must  speak  out  of  the  words, 
so  that  they  may  realize  Schumann's 
lovely  conception  when  he  said  that  the 
best  criticism  is  that  which  leaves  after 
it  an  impression  on  the  reader  like  that 
which  the  music  made  on  the  hearer. 
Read  Dr.  John  Brown's  account  of  one 
of  Halle's  recitals,  reprinted  from  "  The 
Scotsman,"  in  the  collection  of  essays 
entitled  "  Spare  Hours,"  if  you  would 
see  how  aptly  a  sweetly  sane  mind  and 
a  warm  heart  can  rhapsodize  without 
the  help  of  technical  knowledge : 

"  Beethoven  (Dr.  Brown  is  speaking  of  the  So- 
nata in  D,  op.  10,  No.  3)  begins  with  a  trouble, 
a  wandering  and  groping  in  the  dark,  a  strange 
emergence  of  order  out  of  chaos,  a  wild,  rich  con- 
fusion and  misrule.  Wilful  and  passionate,  often 
harsh,  and,  as  it  were,  thick  with  gloom;  then 
comes,  as  if  '  it  stole  upon  the  air,'  the  burden  of 
the  theme,  the  still,  sad  music — Largo  £  mesto — so 
human,  so  sorrowful,  and  yet  the  sorrow  overcome, 
not  by  gladness  but  by  something  better,  like  the 
sea,  after  a  dark  night  of  tempest,  falling  asleep  in 
the  young  light  of  morning,  and  4  whispering  how 




Dr.  Brown 





Apollo  and 
the  critic— 
a  fable. 

The  critic's 
duty  to  ad- 

How  to  Listen  to  Music 

meek  and  gentle  it  can  be.'  This  likeness  to  the 
sea,  its  immensity,  its  uncertainty,  its  wild,  strong 
glory  and  play,  its  peace,  its  solitude,  its  un- 
searchableness,  its  prevailing  sadness,  comes  more 
into  our  minds  with  this  great  and  deep  master's 
works  than  any  other." 

That  is  Beethoven. 

Once  upon  a  time — it  is  an  ancient 
fable — a  critic  picked  out  all  the  faults 
of  a  great  poet  and  presented  them  to 
Apollo.  The  god  received  the  gift 
graciously  and  set  a  bag  of  wheat  be- 
fore the  critic  with  the  command  that 
he  separate  the  chaff  from  the  kernels. 
The  critic  did  the  work  with  alacrity, 
and  turning  to  Apollo  for  his  reward, 
received  the  chaff.  Nothing  could 
show  us  more  appositely  than  this 
what  criticism  should  not  be.  A  crit- 
ic's duty  is  to  separate  excellence  from 
defect,  as  Dr.  Crotch  says ;  to  admire 
as  well  as  to  find  fault.  In  the  propor- 
tion that  defects  are  apparent  he  should 
increase  his  efforts  to  discover  beauties. 
Much  flows  out  of  this  conception  of 
his  duty.  Holding  it  the  critic  will 
bring  besides  all  needful  knowledge  a 
fulness  of  love  into  his  work.  "  Where 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public 

sympathy  is  lacking,  correct  judgment 
is  also  lacking,"  said  Mendelssohn.  The 
critic  should  be  the  mediator  between 
the  musician  and  the  public.  For  all 
new  works  he  should  do  what  the  sym- 
phonists  of  the  Liszt  school  attempt  to 
do  by  means  of  programmes ;  he  should 
excite  curiosity,  arouse  interest,  and 
pave  the  way  to  popular  comprehen- 
sion. But  for  the  old  he  should  not 
fail  to  encourage  reverence  and  admira- 
tion. To  do  both  these  things  he  must 
know  his  duty  to  the  past,  the  present, 
and  the  future,  and  adjust  each  duty  to 
the  other.  Such  adjustment  is  only 
possible  if  he  knows  the  music  of  the 
past  and  present,  and  is  quick  to  per- 
ceive the  bent  and  outcome  of  novel 
strivings.  He  should  be  catholic  in 
taste,  outspoken  in  judgment,  unaltera- 
ble in  allegiance  to  his  ideals,  unswerv- 
able  in  integrity. 



A  mediator 
and  pub  lit. 



PLATE   1 























.Allegro.  J.»t. 




ABSOLUTS  music,  36 
Academy  of  Music,  New  York, 


Adagio,  in  symphony,  133 
Addison,  205,  206,  208 
Allegro,  in  symphony,  132 
Allemande,  173,  174 
Alto  clarinet,  104 
Alto,  male,  260 
Amadeo,  241 

Ambros,  August  Wilhelm,  49 
Antiphony,  267 
Archilochus,  213 
Aria,  235 
Arioso,  235 
Asaph,  115 

BACH,  C.  P.  E.,  180,  185 

Bach,  Johann  Sebastian,  69,  83, 
148, 167,  169,  170,  171, 174,  176, 
180,  181,  184,  192,  257,  259,  267, 
268,  278,  281,  282,  283,  286,  287, 
289 ;  his  music,  281  et  seq.  ;  his 
technique  as  player,  180,  181, 
184  ;  his  choirs,  257, 259  ;  com- 
pared with  Palestrina,  378 ; 
1  Magnificat,"  283;  Mass  in 
B  minor,  283  ;  Chromatic  Fan- 
tasia and  Fugue,  171 ;  Suites, 
174.  176 ;  "  St  Matthew  Pas- 
sion," 267,  278,  282,  286,  289  ; 

Motet,  "Sing  ye  to  the  Lord," 
268 ;  "  St.  John  Passion,"  286 

Balancement,  170 

Balfe,  223 

Ballade,  192 

Ballet  music,  152 

Balletto,  173 

Bass  clarinet,  104 

Bass  trumpet,  81,  82 

Basset  horn,  82 

Bassoon,  74,  82,  99,  101  et  seq. 

Bastardella,  La,  239 

Bayreuth  Festival  orchestra,  81, 

Bcbung,  169,  170 

Beethoven,  27,  28,  29,  30,  31,  32, 

33-  34,  35.  44,  46,  47.  49-  53,  60. 
62,  63,  70,  92,  94,  loi,  102,  103, 
106,  113,  120,  125, 131, 132, 133, 
136,  137,  138,  140,  141, 146,  147, 
151,  167,  182,  184,  186,  187,  193, 
195.  196.  203,  208,  232,  292,  321, 
322  ;  likenesses  in  his  melodies, 
33.  34 ;  unity  in  his  works,  27, 
28,  29 ;  his  chamber  music,  47  ; 
his  sonatas,  182 ;  his  democ- 
racy, 46 ;  not  always  idiomat- 
ic, I93  '•  his  pianoforte,  195  ; 
his  pedal  effects,  196;  missal 
compositions,  292,  294;  his 
overtures,  147;  his  free  fan- 



tasias,  131 ;  his  technique  as  a 
player,  186;  "  Eroica  "  sym- 
phony, 100,  132,  136;  Fifth 
symphony,  28,  29,  30,  31,  92, 
103,  120,  125,  133  ;  "  Pastoral" 
symphony,  44,  49,  53,  62,  63, 
94,  102,  132,  140,  141 ;  Seventh 
symphony,  31,  32,  132,  133; 
Eighth  symphony,  113;  Ninth 
symphony,  33,  34,  35,  94,  133, 
136,  138,  305  ;  Sonata,  op.  10, 
No.  3,  321  ;  Sonata,  op.  31, 
No.  2,  29 ;  Sonata  ' '  Appassi- 
onata,"  29,  30,  31  ;  Pianoforte 
concerto  in  G,  31  ;  Pianoforte 
concerto  in  E-flat,  146  ;  Violin 
concerto,  146;  "  Becalmed  at 
Sea,"  60  ;  "  Fidelio,"  203,  208, 
232 ;  Mass  in  D,  60,  292,  294  ; 
Serenade,  op.  8,  151 

Bell  chime,  74 

Bellini,  203,  204,  242,  245 ;  "  La 
Sonnambula,"  204,  245  ;  "  Nor- 
ma,"  242 

Benedetti,  242 

Berlin  Singakademie,  262 

Berlioz,  49,  80,  87,  89,  90,  94,  100, 
102,  104,  113.  137,  138,  139. 
294,  295  ;  "  L'idee  fixe"  137  ; 
"  Symphonic  Fantastique," 
137;  "Romeo  and  Juliet,"  90, 
94,  139;  Requiem,  113,  294, 


Bizet,  "  Carmen,"  238,  ^42 
Boileau,  206 
Bosio,  241 
Boston  Symphony  Orchestra,  81, 

82,  108 

Bottesini,  94 
Bourre'e,  173 
Brahm's  *4 Academic  overture," 


Branle,  173 
Brass    instruments,     74,    104    tt 


Brignoli,  209,  242 
Broadwood's  pianoforte,  195 
Brown,  Dr.  John,  321 
Bully  Bottom  in  music,  61 
Bunner,  H.  C.,  136 
Burns's  "  Ye  flowery  banks,"  175 

CACCINI,  "  Eurydice,"  234 

Cadences,  23 

Cadenzas,  145 

Calve,  Emma,  242,  247 

Calvin  and  music,  275 

Campanini,  242 

Cantatas,  290 

Cat's  mew  in  music,  52 

Catalani,  245,  246 

Chaconne,  153 

Chamber  music,  36,  44  et  seq.t 

Chicago  Symphony  Orchestra, 
8 1,  82,  108 

Choirs,  253  et  seg.\  size  of,  257  et 
seq^  264,  271  ;  men's,  255,  260; 
boys',  261 ;  women's,  261 ; 
mixed,  262,  264 ;  division  of, 
260,  266 ;  growth  of,  in  Ger- 
many, 262 ;  history  of,  in  Amer- 
ica, 263;  in  Cincinnati,  264; 
contralto  voices  in,  270 

Choirs,  orchestral,  74 

Chopin,  167,  1 88,  190,  191,  192, 



196 ;  hfs  romanticism,  188 ; 
Preludes,  190;  fitudes,  191; 
Nocturnes,  191 ;  Ballades,  192  ; 
Polonaises,  192 ;  Mazurkas, 
192  ;  his  pedal  effects,  196 

Choral  music,  253  et  seq.\  anti- 
phonal,  267  ;  mediaeval,  274; 
Calvin  on,  275  ;  Luther's  influ- 
ence on,  276;  congregational, 
277 ;  secular  tunes  in,  276,  277 ; 
Romanticism,  influence  on, 
277 ;  preponderance  in  orato- 
rio, 289 ;  dramatic  and  descrip- 
tive, 289 

Chorley,  H.  F. ,  on  Jenny  Lind's 
singing,  243 

Church  cantatas,  284 

Cicero,  309 

Cincinnati,  choirs  in,  264 

Cinti-Damoreau,  241 

Clarinet,  47,  74,  78,  82, 103  etseq., 


Classical  concerts,  122  et  seq. 
Classical  music,  36,  64,  122  etseq. 
Clavichord,  168,  181 
Clavier,  171,  173 
Clementi,  185,  195 
Cock,  song  of  the,  51,  53,  54 
Coleridge,  n,  144 
Coletti,  242 
Comic  opera,  224 
Composers,  how  they  hear  music, 


Concerto,  138,  144  et  seq. 
Conductor,  114  et  seq. 
Content  of  music,  36  et  seq. 
Contra-bass  trombone,  81,  82 
Contra-bass  tuba,  81,  82 

Co-ordination  of  tones,  17 

Coranto,  Corrente,  173,  176 

Cornelius,  "  Barbier  von  Bag- 
dad," 236 

Cornet,  73,  82,  108 

Corno  di  bassetto,  81,  82 

Corsi,  242 

Couperin,  168 

Courante,  173,  176 

Covent  Garden  Theatre,  London, 
224,  226 

Cowen,  "  Welsh  "  and  "  Scandi- 
navian "  symphonies,  132 

Cracovienne,  193 

Creole  tune  analyzed,  23,  24 

Critics  and  criticism,  13,  297  et 

Crotch,  Dr.,  322 

Cuckoo,  51,  52,  53 

Cymbals,  74,  82 

Czardas,  201 

Czerny,  186 

DACTYLIC  metre,  31 
Dance,  the  ancient,  43,  212 
Dannreuther,  Edward,  129,  144, 

Depth,    musical  delineation  of, 


De  Reszke,  Edouard,  248 
De  Reszke,  Jean,  247 
Descriptive  music,  51  et  seq. 
Design  and  form,  16 
De  Stael,  Madame,  210 
D'Israeli,  315 
Distance,  musical  delineation  of, 

Dithyramb,  aia,  213 



''Divisions,"  265 

Doles,  Cantor,  292 

Donizetti,  203,  204,  242;  "Lu- 
cia," 203,  204 

Double-bass,  74,  78,  82,  94 

Double-bassoon,  103 

Dragonetti,  94 

Dramatic  ballads,  290 

Dramatic  orchestras,  81,  82 

Dramma  per  musica,  227,  249 

Drummers,  113 

Drums,  73,  74,  82,  no  et  seq. 

Duality  of  music,  15 

"  Dump"  and  Dumka,  151 

Durchfiihrung,  131 

DvoMk,  symphonies,  "  From 
the  New  World,"  132,  138 ;  in 
G  major,  136 

EAMES,  EMMA,  247 
Edwards,  G.  Sutherland,  12 
Elements  of  music,  15,  19 
Emotionality  in  music,  43 
English  horn,  82,  99,  100 
English  opera,  223 
Ernst's  violin,  320 
Esterhazy,  Prince,  46 
Euler,  acoustician,  317 
Expression,  words  of,  43 

FAMILIAR  music  best  liked,  21 

Fancy,  15,  16,  58 

Farinelli,  240 

Fasch.C.  F.,262 

Feelings,  their  relation  to  music, 

38  et  seq. ,  215,  216 
Ferri,  239,  240 
Finale,  symphonic,  135 

First  movement  in  symphony, 

Flageolet  tones,  89 

Florentine  inventors  of  the  op- 
era, 217,  227,  234,  249 

Flute,  73,  74,  78,  82,  95  et  seq. 

Form,  16,  17,  22,  35 

Formes,  242,  248 

Frederick  the  Great,  263 

Free  Fantasia,  131 

French  horn,  47,  106  et  seq. 

Frezzolini,  242 

Friss,  201 

Frogs,  musical  delineation  of, 
58,  62 


Gavotte,  173,  179 

German  opera,  226 

Gerster,  Etelka,  242,  245 

Gesture,  43 

Gigue,  173,  174,  178 

Gilbert,  W.  S.,  208,  224 

Gilbert  and  Sullivan's  operettas, 

Glockenspiel,  no 

Gluck,  84, 148,  153,  202,  203,  238 ; 
his  dancers,  153  ;  his  orches- 
tra, 238;  "Alceste,"  148; 
"  Iphigenie  en  Aulide,"  153; 
"Orfeo,"  202,  203 

Goethe,  34,  140,  223 

Goldmark,  "  Sakuntala  "  over- 
ture, 149 

Gong,  no 

Gossec,  Requiem,  293 

Gounod,  "  Faust,"  209,  224,  238, 



Grand  Optra,  223,  224 

Greek  Tragedy,  211  et  seq. 

Grisi,  241,  242 

Grosse  Oper,  224 

Grove,  Sir  George,  33,  63,   141, 

Gypsy  music,  198  et  seq. 

HALLE,  Lady,  320 

Hamburg,  opera  in,  206,  207 

Handel,  58,  60,  62,  83,  102,  126, 
148,  174,  177, 178,  181,  182, 184, 
256,  257,  258,  259,  265,  272  ;  his 
orchestra,  84 ;  his  suites,  174 ; 
his  overtures,  148 ;  his  tech- 
nique as  a  player,  181,  182, 184  ; 
his  choirs,  257 ;  Commemo- 
ration, 258 ;  his  tutti,  258 ; 
"  Messiah,"  60,  126,  256,  257, 
265,  272;  "Saul,"  102;  "  Al- 
mira,"  177;  "  Rinaldo,"  178; 
"  Israel  in  Egypt,"  58,  62,  257, 
259,  289;  "  Lascia  ch?  to  pi~ 
anga,"  178 

Hanslick,  Dr.  Eduard,  203 

Harmonics,  on  violin,  89 

Harmony,  19,  21,  22,  218 

Harp,  82 

Harpsichord,  168,  170 

Hauptmann,  M. ,  41 

Hautboy,  99 

Haweis,  the  Rev.  Mr.,  318  et 

Haydn,  46,  84,  100, 127,  168,  183, 
295  ;  his  manner  of  composing, 
183 ;  dramatic  effects  in  his 
masses,  295  ;  "  Seasons,"  zoo 

Hebrew  music,  114  ;  poetry,  25 

Height,  musical  delineation  of, 


Heman,  115 
Hen,  song  of,  in  music,  52,  53, 


Herbarth,  philosopher,  39 
Hiller,  Ferdinand,  307,  310 
Hiller,  Johann  Adam,  258 
Hogarth,  Geo.,  "  Memoirs  of  the 

Opera,"  210,  245 
Horn,  82,  105,  106  et  seq.,  151 
Hungarian  music,  198  et  seq. 
Hymn-tunes,  history  of,  275 

IAMBICS,  175 
"  Idee  fixe"  Berlioz's,  137 
Identification  of  themes,  35 
Idiomatic  pianoforte  music,  193, 


Idioms,  musical,  44,  51,  55 
Imagination,  15,  16,  58 
Imitation  of  natural  sounds,  51 
Individual  attitude  of  man  tow- 
ard music,  37 
Instrumental    musicians,   former 

legal  status  of,  83 
Instrumentation,  71  etseqf\  in  the 

mass,  293  et  seq. 
Intelligent  hearing,  16,  18,  37 
Intermediary  necessary,  20 
Intermezzi,  221 

Interrelation    of     musical    ele- 
ments, 22 

JANIZARY  music,  97 
Jean  Paul,  67,  189,  190 
Jeduthun,  115 



Jig.  179 
Judgment,  311 

Kettle-drums,  in  et  seq. 
Key  relationship,  26,  129 
Kinds  of  music,  36  et  seq* 
Kirchencantatett)  284 
Krakowiak,  193 
Kullak,  184 


La  Grange,  241,  245 

Lamb,  Charles,  10 

Language  of  tones,  42,  43 

Lassu,  201 

Laws,  musical,  mutability  of,  69 

Lehmann,  Lilli,  233,  244,  247 

Lenz,  33 

Leoncavallo,  228 

Lind,  Jenny,  241,  243 

Liszt,  132,  140,  142,  143,  167, 168, 
193,  197,  198,  228 ;  his  music, 
168,  193,  197 ;  his  transcrip- 
tions, 167  ;  his  rhapsodies,  167, 
198 ;  his  symphonic  poems, 
142;  "Faust"  symphony,  132, 
140 ;  Concerto  in  E-flat,  143 ; 
"  St  Elizabeth,"  288 

Literary  blunders  concerning 
music,  9,  10,  ii,  12 

Local  color,  152,  153 

London  opera,  206,  207,  226 

Louis  XIV.,  179 

Lucca,  Pauline,  242,  246,  247 

Lully,  his  overtures,  148 ;  min- 
uet, 179;  uAtys,"  206 

Luther,  Martin,  276 

Lyric  drama,  231,  234,  237,  251 


Magyar  music,  198  et  seq. 

Major  mode,  57 

Male  alto,  260 

Male  chorus,  255,  260 

Malibran,  241 

Mannergesang,  255,  260 

Marie  Antoinette,  153 

Mario,  242,  247,  271 

Marschner,  "Hans  Heiling," 
225;  ''Templer  und  Jiidin," 
225  ;  "  Vampyr,"  225  ;  his  op- 
eras, 248 

Mascagni,  228 

Mass,  the,  290  et  seq. 

Massenet,  "  Le  Cid,"  152 

Materials  of  music,  16 

Materna,  Amalia,  247 

Matthews,  Brander,  n 

Mazurka,  192 

Melba,  Nellie,  204,  238,  245,  247, 

Melody,  19,  21,  22,  24 

Memory,  19,  21,  73 

Mendelssohn,  41,  42,  49,  59,  61, 
67,  102,  1:09,  132,  139,  140,  149, 
168,  243,  278,  288,  289,  322;  on 
the  content  of  music,  41.  42 ; 
his  Romanticism,  67  ;  on  the 
use  of  the  trombones,  109 ; 
opinion  of  Jenny  Lind,  243  ; 
"  Songs  without  Words,"  41  ; 
"  Hebrides  "  overture,  59,  149  ; 
' '  Midsummer  Night's  Dream, " 
61,  102  ;  "  Scotch  "  symphony, 



132,  139 ;  u  Italian  "  symphony, 
132  ;  "  Hymn  of  Praise,"  140  ; 
"St.  Paul,"  278;  "Elijah," 
288,  289 

Mersenne,  "  Harmonic  univer- 
selle,"  175,  176 

Metropolitan  Opera  House,  New 
York,  203,  224,  226,  244 

Meyerbeer,  89,  102,  203, 204,  208, 
242,  243,  244;  "L'Africaine," 
89;  "Robert  le  Diable,"  102, 
208,  244;  "Huguenots,"  204; 
"  L'Etoile  du  Nord,"  243 

Military  bands,  123 

Minor  mode,  57 

Minuet,  134,  151,  173,  179 

Mirabeau,  293 

Model,  none  in  nature  for  music, 
8,  180 

Monteverde,  "  Orfeo,"  87 

Moscheles,  on  Jenny  Lind's  sing- 
ing, 243 

Motet,  283 

Motives,  22,  24 

Mozart,  84,  109,  132,  145,  151, 
168,  183, 184,  195,  202,  203,  221, 
224,  228,  230.  238,  244,  265,  292 ; 
his  pianoforte  technique,  184 ; 
on  Doles' s  mass,  292 ;  his  or- 
chestra, 238 ;  his  edition  of 
Handel's  "  Messiah,"  265  ;  on 
cadenzas,  145 ;  his  pianoforte, 
195  ;  his  serenades,  151 ;  "  Don 
Giovanni,"  109,  202,  221,  222, 
228,  230  ;  "  Magic  Flute,"  203  ; 
G-minor  symphony,  132 ;  "  Fi- 
garo," 202,  228 

Musica  parlante,  234 

Musical  instruction,   deficiencies 

in,  9 

Musician,  Critic,  and  Public,  297 
Musikdrama^  227,  238,  249 

Nevada,  Emma,  204 
Newspaper,  the  modern,  297,  298, 


New  York  Opera,  206,  226,  241 
Niecks,  Frederick,  192 
Niemann,  Albert,  233 
Nightingale,  in  music,  52 
Nilsson,  Christine,  242,  246,  247 
Nordica,  Lillian,  247 
Norman-Neruda,  Madame,  320 
Notes  not  music,  20 
Nottebohm,     "  Beethoveniana," 


OBOE,  47,  74,  78,  82,  84,  98  et  seq. 

Opera,  descriptive  music  in,  61  ; 
history  of,  202  et  seq.  ;  language 
of,  205  ;  polyglot  performances 
of,  207  et  seq.  •  their  texts  per- 
verted, 207  et  seq.  ;  words  of, 
209,  210  ;  elements  in,  214  ;  in- 
vention of,  216  et  seq.  \  varie- 
ties of,  220  et  seq.  ;  comic  ele- 
ments in,  221  ;  action  and 
incident  in,  236 ;  singing  in, 
239 ;  singers  compared,  241  et 

Opfra  bouffe,  220,  221,  225 

Opera  buff  a,  220 

Op6ra  comique,  223 

Optra,  Grand,  223 

Opera  in  musica,  228 



Opera  semiseria,  221 

Opera  seria,  220 

Opus,  132 

Oratorio,  256,  287  et  seq. 

Orchestra,  71  et  seq. 

Ostrander,  Dr.  Lucas,  278 

"  Ouida,"  12 

Overture,  147  et  seq.t  174 

PADEREWSKI,  his  recitals,  154 
et  seq.  ;  his  Romanticism,  167  ; 
"  Krakowiak,"  193 

Painful,  the,  not  fit  subject  for 
music,  50 

Palestrina  and  Bach,  278  et  seq.  ; 
his  music,  279  et  seq.  ;  "  Stabat 
Mater,"  279,  280  ;  "  Imprope- 
ria,"  280  ;  "  Missa  Papae  Mar- 
celli,"  280 

Pandean  pipes,  98 

Pantomime,  43 

Parallelism,  25 

Passepied,  173 

"  Passions,"  284  et  seq. 

Patti,  Adelina,  203,  204,  238,  242, 

245.  247 

Pedals,  pianoforte,  195,  196 
Pedants,  13,  315 
Percussion    instruments,    no  et 


Peri,  "  Eurydice,"  234 
Periods,  musical,  22,  24 
Perkins,  C.  €.,263 
Pfund,  his  drums,  112 
Philharmonic     Society    of  New 

York,  76,  77,  81,  82 
Phrases,  musical,  22,  24 
Physical  effects  of  music,  38 

Pianoforte,  history  and  descrip- 
tion of,  154  et  seq.  \  its  music, 
154  et  seq. ,  166  et  seq. ;  concer- 
tos, 144  ;  trios,  147 

Piccolo  flute,  85,  97 

Piccolomini,  242,  245 

Pictures  in  music,  40 

Pi/a,  Handel's,  126 

Pizzicato,  88,  91 

Plancon,  248 

Polonaise,  192 

Polyphony  and  feelings,  39 

Popular  concerts,  122 

Porpora,  209 

"  Pov  piti  Momzelle  Zizi,"  23 

Preludes,  148, 174 

Programme  music,  36,  44,  48  et 
seq.t  64,  142 

Puccini,  228 

QUAIL,  call  of,  in  music,  51,  54 

Quartet,  147 

Quilled  instruments,  170 

Quinault,  "  Atys,"  206 

Quintet,  147 

Quintillian,  309 

RAFF,  49,  96,  132;  "  Lenore  " 
symphony,  96,  132 ;  "  Im 
Walde  "  symphony,  132 

Rameau,  168 

Recitative,  219,  220,  228  et  seq. 

Reed  instruments,  98  et  seq. 

Reformation,  its  influence  on 
music,  275,  278,  280 

Refrain,  25 

Register  of  the  orchestra,  85 

Repetition,  22,  25 



Rhapsodists  among  writers,   13, 

315  et  seq. 

Rhythm,  19,  ax,  26,  160 
"  Ridendo  castigat  mores,"  225 
Rinuccini,  "  Eurydice,"  234 
Romantic  music,  36,  64  et  seq.^ 

71,  277 

Romantic  opera,  225 
Ronconi,  242 
Rondeau  and  Rondo,  135 
Rossini,  147,  228,  242  ;  his  over- 
tures,   147;     "II     Barbiere," 
«28  ;  "  William  Tell,"  93,  100 
Rubinstein,    59,    152,    167,    168, 
287  ;     his    historical    recitals, 
167 ;    his  sacred  operas,  287 ; 
'*  Ocean  "      symphony,      59  ; 
"  Feramors,"  152 
Ruskin,  John,  302 
Russian  composers,  134 


Saint-Saens,  "  Danse  Macabre," 
101,  in  ;  symphony  in  C  mi- 
nor, 141 ;  "  Samson  and  Deli- 
lah," 288 

Salvi,  242 

Sarabande,  173,  174,  177 

S  ass  are  Hi,  240 

Scarlatti,  D. ,  167,  172,  182 ;  his 
technique,  172;  "Capriccio" 
and  "  Pastorale,"  172 

Scheffer,  Ary,  246 

Scherzo,  133,  179 

Schroder-Devrient,  232 

Schubert,  168 

Schumann,  49,  64,  132,  133,  139, 
140,  141,  167,  188,  189,  190, 196, 

254, 308, 310  ;  his  Romanticism, 
188 ;  and  Jean  Paul,  189 ;  his 
pedal  effects,  196 ;  on  popular 
judgment,  308,  310 ;  symphony 
in  C,  132  ;  symphony  in  D  mi- 
nor, 139  ;  symphony  in  B-flat, 
140;  "Rhenish"  symphony, 
140,  141;  "Carnaval,"  189, 
190;  "  Papillons,"  189,  190; 
' '  Kreisleriana, ' '  190  ;  ' '  Phan- 
tasiestucke,"  190 

Score,  120 

"  Scotch  snap,"  52,  200 

Second  movement  in  symphony, 


Seidl,  Anton,  77 

Sembrich,  Marcella,  242,  245 

Senesino,  239,  240 

Sense-perception,  18 

Serenade,  149  et  seq. 

Shaftesbury,  Lord,  311 

Shakespeare,  his  dances,  153, 
179 ;  his  dramas,  202 ;  a  Ro- 
manticist, 221  ;  "  Two  Gentle- 
men of  Verona,"  150;  Queen 
Mab,  90 

Singing,  physiology  of,  215,  218  ; 
operatic,  239  ;  choral,  268 

Singing  Societies,  253  et  seq. 

Singspiel,  223 

Smith,  F.  Hopkinson,  ix 

Sonata  da  Camera,  173 

Sonata,  127,  182,  183 

Sonata  form,  127  et  seq. 

Sontag,  941.  244.  24S,  246 

Sordino,  90 

Space,  music  has  no  place  in,  59 

Speech  and  music,  43 



Spencer,    Herbert,  39,  43,   216, 

218,  230 
Spinet,  168,  170 
Spohr,  "  Jessonda,"  225 
Stainer,  Dr. ,  39,  316 
Stein,  pianoforte  maker,  196 
Stilo  rappresentativo,  234 
Stories,  in  music,  40 
Strings,  orchestral,  74,  82,  86  et 

seq.t  102 

Sucher,  Rosa,  247 
Suite,  129,  152,  173  et  seq. 
Symphonic  poem,  142 
Symphonic  prologue,  148 
Symphony,  124  et  seq.,  183 
Syrinx,  98 

TALENT  in  listening,  4 

Tambourine,  no 

Tappert,    "  Zooplastik    in    T5- 

nen,"  51 
Taste,  311 

Technique,  163  ft  seq. 
Tennyson,  9 
Terminology,  musical,  8 
Theatre    naticnale    de    FOpera- 

Comique,  223 
Thespis,  212 
Thomas,  "  Mignon,"  223 
Tibia,  98 
Titiens,  242 
Tonal  language,  42,  43 
Tones,  co-ordination  of,  17 
Touch,  163  et  seq. 
Tragedia  per  musita,  227 
Tremolo,  91 

Trench,  Archbishop,  65,  66 
Triangle,  74,  no 

Trio,  134 

Triolet,  136 

Trombone,  82,  105,  106,  109  et 

Trumpet,  105,  108 

Tschaikowsky,  88,  132;  "Sym- 
phonic Pathe"tique,"  132 

Tuba,  82,  85,  106,  108 

"  Turkish  "  music,  97 

Tympani,  82,  in  et  seq. 

UGLY,  the,  not  fit  for  music,  50 
United  States,  first  to  have  am- 
ateur   singing    societies,   257, 
262;  spread    of  choral    music 
in,  263 
Unity  in  the  symphony,  27,  137 


Verdi,  152,  203,  210,  228,  236, 
238,  242,  243;  "Aida,"  152,^ 
228,  238  ;  "  II  Trovatore,"  210," 
243;  "Otello,"  228,  238; 
"  Falstaff,"  228,  236  ;  Requiem, 

Vestris,  153 

Vibrato,  90 

Vile,  the,  unfit  for  music,  50 

Viola,  74,  77.  82,  92,  93 

Viole  da.  braccio,  93 

Viole  da  gamba^  93 

Violin,  73,74.  77,  82,  %6  et  seq., 
144,  162 

Violin  concertos,  145 

Violoncello,  74.  77,  82.  9*.  93-  94 

Virginal,  168,  170 

Vocal  music,  61,  215 

Vorspiel,  148 



WAGNER,  41,  79,  80,  81,  88,  89, 
94,  in,  205,  206,  219,  226,  227, 
232,  235,  237,  238,  244,  248,  249, 
250,  251,  303,  305,  314  ;  on  the 
content  of  music,  41 ;  his  in- 
strumentation, 80,  in  ;  his 
dramas,  219,  226,  227,  248 ; 
Musikdrama,  227,  249;  his  di- 
alogue, 235  ;  his  orchestra,  238, 
250 ;  his  operas,  248  ;  his  theo- 
ries, 249 ;  endless  melody,  250  ; 
typical  phrases,  250  ;  "  lead- 
ing motives,"  250  ;  popularity 
of  his  music,  303  ;  on  criticism, 
314;  "  Flying  Dutchman,"  248; 
"  Tannhauser,"  248  ;  "  Lohen- 
grin,'' 79,  88,  235,  248;  "Die 
Meistersinger,"  249;  "  Tristan 
und  Isolde,"  87,  237,  249; 
"  Rheingold,"  237 ;  "  Die  Wal- 
kare,"  94,  237  ;  "  Siegfried," 
»37.  344  I  "  Die  Gotterdamme- 

rung,"  237 ;  "  Ring  of  the 
Nibelung,"  249,  251,  305; 
"  Parsifal,"  249 

Waldhorn,  107 

Wallace,  W.  V. ,  223 

Walter,  Jacob,  53 

Water,   musical  delineation    of, 


Weber,  67,  96,  244,  248  ;  his  Ro- 
manticism, 67;  "Der  Freis- 
chiitz,"  96,  225;  "  Oberon," 
225;  "  Euryanthe,"  225 

Weitzmann,  "  Geschichte  des 
Clavierspiels, "  201 

Welsh  choirs,  255 

Wood-wind  instruments,  74,  77, 

YSAYE,  on  Cadenzas,  146 



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MT  Krehbiel,  Henry  Edward 
6  How  to  listen  to  music 

K74  18th,  ed.